The New York Jets recently opted to cut star wide receiver, Brandon Marshall. Like most decisions Gang Green makes, they will regret it.
At this point, it is no secret that the Jets have decided to release Brandon Marshall. Many Jets fans are lauding the move, claiming that Marshall is too troublesome, old, and expensive to be worth retaining for another season.
Those fans are wrong on all three counts. Let’s examine those claims further. Is Marshall a clubhouse cancer? Will the rest of the team benefit from his absence? While it is certainly true that Marshall has had a checkered past, he was not one of the primary culprits in the team’s locker room chaos this past season.
Cornerback Darrelle Revis squeezed the Jets for every penny he possibly could, all for the privilege of watching him half-heartedly miss tackles and make excuses all season. When he wasn’t busy being arrested, defensive end Sheldon Richardson liked to spend his free time posting childish Snapchat videos and openly bashing his teammates. And we should never forget the “role model” Muhammad Wilkerson, who rewarded the team for his huge new contract by missing meetings.
By the way, that teammate that Richardson publicly criticized was Marshall. It is worth noting what Marshall’s response was to Richardson in an article written by Brian Costello of the New York Post:
“It hurts to see someone with so much potential and so many people trying to help him…I just wish him the best…He’s an amazing talent. I just want him to see the big picture.”
Marshall’s newfound maturity extends beyond how he treated Richardson. Factor in Marshall’s extensive charitable efforts and the inspiring work he has done for the mental health community, and it becomes obvious that he was not one of the rotten apples in the Jets’ barrel.
All that being said, the NFL is a cutthroat business. Perhaps Marshall was simply too old or expensive to keep?
Marshall would be 33 by the start of next season, and he is coming off one of the worst statistical years of his career (788 receiving yards, 3 receiving touchdowns). Marshall also battled nagging injuries all season. He lacked the support of fellow wide receiver Eric Decker and had probably the worst quarterbacks in the NFL throwing to him. Considering the poor season DeAndre Hopkins had with Brock Osweiler, it cannot be overstated how much awful quarterback play can sabotage wide receivers.
The bottom line is if Jets fans are going to continue to make excuses for quarterback Geno Smith based on external circumstances, they owe the same courtesy to an established star player like Marshall. Finally, what about the claims that Marshall was too expensive? Perhaps the Jets just needed the cap room?
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After making a litany of cuts, the Jets already had over $25 million in cap space. And Marshall’s scheduled salary for 2017 was only $7.5M (all cap numbers courtesy of Spotrac). He was due to make less money in 2017 than Decker ($8.7M), Marvin Jones ($8.6M), Mike Wallace ($8M), Tavon Austin ($14.9M), and Golden Tate ($8.3M). In other words, the Jets had a No. 1 receiver for the price of a decent No.2 receiver and decided to opt out of that bargain.
From a personal perspective, a football perspective, and a financial perspective, cutting Marshall simply does not make sense.
As a final note, I am aware that there are reports that Marshall requested to be released. But did the Jets really make a genuine effort to keep Marshall, or are the early reports just posturing by the franchise? Marshall is generally not afraid to speak his mind, and he has never publicly expressed any desire to leave New York.
Even if those reports are accurate, the Jets just let a talented player signed to a cheap contract go for nothing. Call me crazy (and I’m sure many fans will in the comments), but dumping assets without gaining anything in return is generally not how bad teams get better.
I could write 2,000 words on this topic, but I don’t imagine my editor would appreciate it. So I’ll end on this note. Thank you, Brandon Marshall. Thank you for your leadership, your hard play, and your charitable efforts in the community. I know at least one Jets fan who will sorely miss you.