Cut by the New York Jets, wide receiver Brandon Marshall seems like a great fit for the New York Giants — but it isn’t a slam dunk.On Thursday, the New York Jets furthered the mass exodus of their roster as they released wide receiver Brandon Marshall just days after doing the same to all-time team greats in Nick Mangold and Darrelle Revis.
The 32-year-old spent just two seasons in New York but left his mark both on and off of the gridiron — and many are hoping Marshall doesn’t go too far.
The Giants, of course, have a glaring hole on their depth chart at wide receiver ever since Week 1 of the 2016 campaign. Was longtime Giant Victor Cruz a strong veteran presence in the clubhouse and good for one big catch per game? Sure. But ever since his devastating patellar tendon injury, the veteran lost the burst that made him a top threat and struggled to make much of an impact as an outside receiver.
When looking at some of the organization’s most pressing needs this offseason, a big-bodied veteran pass-catcher is near the top of the list.
Marshall fits that mold to a tee.
In his 11-year NFL career, Marshall has been recognized as a top threat with the Denver Broncos, Miami Dolphins, Chicago Bears and the Jets. Over that span, he’s recorded less than 1,000 receiving yards just three times and has missed no less than 13 games in a single season.
Despite being up there in age, many could argue that Marshall’s best season as a pro came just two years ago. In his first year in New York, he posted careers highs in touchdowns (14), catches for 40 or more yards (five), and first downs catches (76) while hauling in 109 passes for 1,502 yards. Noted for his strong hands, route-running, and ability to catch in traffic, Marshall could be a stable and reliable veteran to aid Eli Manning as he advances in age.
But it’s not all about what goes on during games. Marshall, too, is a charitable man. As someone who suffers from borderline personality disorder, the receiver has been a huge proponent in spreading awareness to the illness — and with the Giants known for having a pristine reputation in the community, this certainly works in Marshall’s favor.
But his fit with the Giants isn’t perfect — it’s actually far from it.
It could be an anomaly but Marshall ranked second in dropped passes in 2016, a category that the Giants are looking to correct, not add to. Outside of his stint with the Jets, Marshall has also been viewed as a complicated locker room presence — while his fiery personality could be viewed as a positive, it has also resulted in multiple clashes with teammates and coaches.
Arguably the biggest reasons why the Giants may look elsewhere for help is due to Marshall’s legal troubles. From his younger years up until he was traded to the Bears, the veteran has been linked to incidents including assault, disorderly conduct, driving under the influence, and domestic abuse. While that was in his past, it’s not hard to see the Mara family turn away from Marshall — especially due to last year’s problems with Josh Brown.
At 6’3″, Marshall appears to be the ideal compliment to Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard, as he could take a ton of pressure off of the young receivers and would be a great red-zone target.
But at the same time, his past baggage may be too much for the Giants to take on and it’s unknown what his price tag will be.
If the rumors are true that Marshall would love to stay in New York and wants to play for a winner, the Giants are as much of a perfect fit for Marshall as he is for the team.
The decision, however, is far from a sure thing.