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NFL Free Agency 2017: Should Brandon Marshall interest the Giants?

My view is no, too much baggage

NFL: New York Jets at Miami Dolphins
Brandon Marshall
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Jets are reportedly releasing wide receiver Brandon Marshall on Friday. The New York Giants have already released Victor Cruz and could use a proven, big-bodied wide receiver to complement Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard.

Does that make Marshall a fit for the Giants? Let’s talk about that.

Marshall, 6-foot-4, 229 pounds, certainly fits the physical profile and would offer the Giants a physical presence on the outside. He certainly has the resume. Marshall is a six-time Pro Bowler and one-time All-Pro with 941 career receptions. He has six 100-catch seasons in an 11-year career.

There are, however, plenty of negatives.

Marshall turns 33 this month and he is coming off a 59-catch season that marked his lowest production since a 20-catch rookie year. His next-lowest reception total for a season was 61 in 2014 with the Chicago Bears. Sandwiched around that was a 109-catch 2015 season, but the 2014 and 2016 numbers could be a sign of decline.

There is also the fact that Marshall is now going to be looking for his fifth team. He has had his fair share of legal troubles, has often been considered to be a locker room distraction because of a tendency to say too much. That includes last season when he had an ongoing feud with teammate Sheldon Richardson.

Marshall, as talented as he is, has managed to play his entire career without once being on a playoff team. Perhaps his own behavior has had something to do with that.

Giants coach Ben McAdoo said this week that the Giants would look for “clean players” in free agency. Marshall certainly doesn’t seem to meet that criteria.

Gary Myers of the Daily News is advocating Marshall to the Giants, writing:

Marshall has matured over the years, but sometimes he just can’t help himself with his mouth. He would be on his best behavior with the Giants, where the locker room culture is different. ...

Marshall will be incredibly motivated to write a new ending to his career. He will be 33 years old on March 23 and I think he’s got one more very productive season left in him. Despite some of the nonsense that went on with the Jets last year, I think Marshall would be a good mentor for Beckham.

I can’t agree with Myers. Four teams have given Marshall a chance to change, and it hasn’t happened. A “good mentor for Beckham?” Please!

Myers quotes Marshall as having said at the end of the season that he would “play for free.”

We know, of course, that isn’t going to happen. He will have suitors, and will likely not come cheap.

Should the Giants really spend a good chunk of the limited salary cap space they have available on an aging wide receiver of questionable character who might also have fading skills?

I think not.

The Giants need to prioritize the offensive line. If they can get one of the top free-agent tackles that’s where their money should go. If not, perhaps signing a top-tier guard and then drafting a tackle like Ryan Ramczyk or Garett Bolles is a nice Plan B.

The big wide receiver? Chris has beaten this drum before, but perhaps they could actually solve that need in the draft with one of the many pass-catching tight ends who will be available.

McAdoo said this week that the Giants like some of what they saw from tight end Jerell Adams as a rookie and “we feel like he can be a good blocker for us.” That would free the Giants to take one of the move tight ends without really worrying about that player’s blocking skills at the outset.

I said the other day that the Giants should pass on aging running backs Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Charles.

My verdict is the same with Marshall. Too much baggage. Too much risk. Too many other places where they should spend their money.

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