It looks like Brandon Marshall — and an apparently large segment of the New York Giants fan base — will get their wish. The Giants are signing Marshall, a veteran wide receiver, to a two-year, $12 million contract. That news was first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Marshall, 33 later this month, is an 11-year veteran and six-time Pro Bowler who has 941 career receptions.
Marshall made the signing official via his Twitter account:
What this means for the Giants
Marshall is 6-foot-4, 229 pounds, so he obviously fits the description of the big-bodied outside wide receiver the Giants’ offense appeared to be lacking.
Marshall had been beating the drum for a deal with the Giants, and will now get what he wanted. Regular Big Blue View readers know this was an idea that yours truly was against, having written “Too much baggage. Too much risk. Too many other places where they should spend their money.”
Still, on paper this obviously makes the Giants wide receiving corps better and more versatile. The Giants were not going to find a more talented or accomplished wide receiver anywhere, especially one that fit the physical profile most analysts — including this one — felt the Giants were lacking a season ago.
The Giants needed a big outside receiver to complement Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard, someone who can make catches over the middle and be a red zone threat. Marshall has done those things throughout his career.
The Giants, though, will be Marshall’s fifth team. He has never been to the playoffs and, whether they were his fault or not, has always seemed to find his way into some sort of controversy at each stop.
John Butchko of SB Nation’s New York Jets web site Gang Green Nation, where Marshall spent the last two seasons, called the idea that Marshall was a locker room problem with the Jets “overblown.”
“Personally I thought any such suggestions with the Jets are overblown,” Butchko said. “The only thing that ever came up in public was Sheldon Richardson criticizing him, and Richardson hasn't exactly cast himself as somebody who has any room to talk.”
One other thing is that this might be an indication that the Giants do understand that the window for veteran quarterback Eli Manning is closing. Manning is 36 and 2017 will be his 14th season. The Giants have admitted they need to begin searching for their next franchise quarterback.
The Marshall move also means the Giants might be parting ways with wide receiver/special teams ace Dwayne Harris. Before breaking the Marshall news, Schefter had tweeted that the Giants were seeking to re-structure Harris’s contract, and that they would release him if they could not.
Releasing Harris, entering the third year of a five-year, $17.5 million contract, would save the Giants only $1.4 million against the salary cap. Harris, though, barely played offense in 2016 and would have no receiving role with Marshall on the team. He also had a down year as a return man last season.
Before the Marshall signing was reported — the Giants have yet to make it official — Spotrac estimated that the Giants had only $12.832 million in salary cap space. Thus, every dollar they can save will be valuable as they seek to upgrade other areas of the roster with limited resources.
In my view, Marshall is a risk. How much of one is debatable, and really no longer worth discussing. The Giants, who have much more information available to them than writers or fans, are comfortable accepting whatever risk there is — be that locker room drama or declining performance related to age. That’s what matters.
In the waning years of Manning’s time with the Giants, this is a go-for-broke move. We will just have to see how it turns out.