After the departure of Marc Trestman from the Chicago Bears earlier this off-season, there has been some speculation the team would also part ways with veteran wide receiver Brandon Marshall. That speculation became reality today as the Bears dealt Marshall to the wide receiver needy New York Jets for a late round pick.
Marshall went through a very rough period early in his career as he battled off field problems including mental illness, but he has been able to overcome those issues to become one of the most dominant receivers in the game. However, with the arrival of new head coach John Fox to Chicago, it was clearly time for a change.
Marshall will now suit up for his fourth NFL team, following stints with the Broncos, Dolphins and Bears, and he always seems to bring less in return than you might expect. When the Broncos surprisingly dealt him to the Miami Dolphins at the beginning of his prime, they received just two second round picks. Two years later, the Dolphins sent him packing for a pair of third round picks. Now, after three seasons in Chicago, the Bears were reportedly only asking for a fifth round pick in exchange for Marshall.
As for Marshall’s dynasty value, he’d been trending down over the past few months, something that should not come as a surprise considering his age, but I expect that trend to continue with him now being on one of the worst teams in the league. Here’s a look at Marshall’s dynasty ADP over the past two years:
Anytime a player of this magnitude is dealt, as we saw earlier this week with the LeSean McCoy trade, there are major ripple effects with all players involved on both teams. Here’s how the deal could impact the fantasy futures of players on both the Jets and Bears.
Jay Cutler, QB
It’s not only Marshall’s name who has been rumored to be available in trade, but starting quarterback Jay Cutler as well, so it may be futile to address how the loss of al All-Pro receiver hurts, but it clearly would not be a good thing. Marshall has had a long-time relationship with Cutler back to their Denver days and has always been his favorite target. If Cutler does stay in Chicago, the loss of Marshall and the new offensive system the Bears will employ will greatly hurt Cutler’s dynasty value, which is only added onto the fact he was benched late in the 2014 season. He’s a low end QB2 with QB1 upside, but not a player I’d want to rely on in dynasty leagues, or in the NFL.
Alshon Jeffery, WR
Despite the consistent excellence displayed on the field by Marshall, Alshon Jeffery has been the team’s best wide receiver the past two seasons, following a quiet rookie year. This team belongs to Jeffery now and his first round ADP shows that dynasty owners believe in him. I still think the loss of Trestman and the potential loss of the gunslinger Cutler could hurt Jeffery’s production a bit, but he is a very safe player, no matter the situation.
Marquess Wilson, WR
Dynasty owners and the Bears were ready for a breakout season from Marquess Wilson a year ago before a pre-season injury derailed those plans. Wilson did finally return to the field the latter portion of the season, but was not a major part of the Bears’ game plan on a weekly basis. He will get his shot now and expect him to be one of the hottest names mentioned around the dynasty water cooler as a result of this deal. We always try to connect the dots as to who wins and loses from major transactions like this and the expected increased playing time he will receive makes Wilson the winner. The Bears have little depth behind Jeffery and Wilson, so expect them to be a player for a receiver in both the free agent and draft.
Eric Decker, WR
In his first season in New York, another former Bronco, Eric Decker, had a relatively quiet season, though he ended up as a WR3. Decker was not the touchdown threat he had been in Denver, which has plenty to do the general quality of the offense and quarterback play. Not only was Decker more of a fantasy star in Denver because of his touchdown production, but also because he got to play the sidekick role to Demaryius Thomas. I expect he’ll again play second fiddle to Marshall, at least for the 2015 season, which will actually be a good thing for both players. Now, if they could just figure out the quarterback spot.
Geno Smith, QB
Two years into his career, I think the Jets have decided Geno Smith is not the long-term answer at the position. Unfortunately, they have few other options, Smith even lost his job at points in the 2014 season to veteran Michael Vick, who is now a free agent. There are almost no quality quarterbacks available via free agency, as we’ve seen with veterans like Josh McCown and Matt Cassel suddenly becoming in-demand assets. There are only a pair of quality quarterbacks available in the NFL Draft (according to most analysts) and one of those is expected to be selected with the first overall pick. In the end, chances are good that Smith is the Week One starter for the Jets and the addition of a player like Marshall could have a huge impact on his game. Smith is not a player I will be investing in greatly, but in both new and existing leagues, he’s basically free, so there is little risk in rostering him.
Amari Cooper, DeVante Parker and Kevin White, WRs
Despite their need at quarterback, nearly every mock draft you read has projected the Jets to select one of the trio of rookie wide receivers, Amari Cooper, DeVante Parker or Kevin White. While the move to the Jets hurts the stock of a veteran like Marshall, it could have absolutely destroyed the hopes of one of these NFL newcomers. It’s now likely the Jets spend that early draft pick on a quarterback or other area of need and we can hold out hope each of these talented receivers end up in a location that will allow them to maintain their already lofty dynasty value.
Percy Harvin, WR
I’ve already mentioned the need the Jets have had at the receiver position, and this is clearly something they understand. They followed up last off-season’s signing of Decker by trading for Percy Harvin during the 2014 season. Harvin had worn out his welcome in Seattle and the Jets were willing to take a risk to inject some talent into their lackluster offense.
Harvin had almost no impact on the Jets and recent reports say he will be released soon – this becomes a safe assumption given today’s trade. Harvin is one of the most electric players in the game, though injuries have derailed his promising career. His believers continue to tell themselves that he just hasn’t been used correctly, but like Marshall, he’s made the rounds with multiple NFL teams. If he is released though, this will be Harvin’s first chance to choose his destination, following trades to Seattle and New York. I am not a huge fan of Harvin’s game, but I am eager to see which teams show interest in him and who he ultimately chooses to sign with. This could be his last chance to prove his talent translates to the league.