Marshall: Trouble Off the Field, Greatness on It

The Jets newest addition, Brandon Marshall, may be Ma Barker off the football field, but he’s Cris Carter on it. Marshall is bringing so much baggage to New York that Gang Green needs two planes to fly him here.

Over the past decade, the nine-year NFL veteran has been alleged to have been involved in no less than 10 domestic disputes, and an array of other offenses. His consistency on the rap sheet, though, is matched only by his dependability as a top-flight receiver who’s racked up touchdowns and Pro Bowl appearances at rates reserved for the position’s truly elite.

Perhaps most impressive, Marshall has put together a Hall of Fame-caliber career while never having the opportunity to play with a franchise quarterback. Indeed, over the years he’s been the favorite target of such not-quite luminaries as Jay Cutler (for two different teams), Chad Henne, Matt Moore and Kyle Orton. Can you imagine the damage he would’ve done if he played with a Manning or Brady? What’s the next superlative up from Megatron?

Obviously, he won’t be playing with a top QB in his latest stop, at least not anytime soon. Whether it’s Geno Smith or another journeyman under center, though, Marshall instantly becomes the best receiver a Jets signal caller has thrown to in years. At 30, the word is he’s coming off a down year in Chicago. Well, his numbers, pro-rated over 16 games (Marshall missed three with injuries), were roughly 75 catches, 900 yards and 10 TDs. Would you take those next season, in exchange for the fifth-round pick new GM Mike Maccagnan is giving up? Furthermore, as a player that’s always relied less on speed than other big-name receivers—you can do that when you’re nearly a big as a linebacker (6’4”, 230)—Marshall is less susceptible to advancing age than most.

Above all, Marshall has a Carter-like nose for the end zone. In that sense, he’s the anti-Percy Harvin, who the Jets can now part with without a second thought. In fact, at this point, the only common trait Harvin and Marshall share is a head-case reputation. For all his incredible athleticism, Harvin played as if allergic to the end zone in recent years. In his last 24 games, he’s crossed the goal line just four times. Marshall, meanwhile, has scored 20 times in 29 games over the past two seasons.

In Marshall, the Jets finally have a star receiver. Now, the team just needs to keep him away from the nightlife and out of the headlines (at least the ones in the front of the paper—the back is just fine). In a quiet little town like this, no problem at all, right?

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