Jets Trade for Brandon Marshall
The new Bears front office has just avoided paying Brandon Marshall $7.5 million in guaranteed money by trading him to the Jets in exchange for a fifth-round draft pick. The trade will become official at the opening of free agency, March 10 – pending Marshall passing a physical. In summation, this trade clears cap space and creates a much-needed culture change in the locker room for the Bears, and it gives the Jets a significant upgrade at wide receiver.
Marshall is coming off his least productive season since his rookie year. After suffering a high ankle sprain in Week 1, he finished the season with 61 receptions for 721 receiving yards and 8 touchdowns in 13 games, leaving him 34th in scoring among fantasy wide receivers. Excluding his miraculous three-touchdown game in Week 2, Marshall’s weekly return on investment was disastrous in 2014.
Editor’s Note: Be sure to sign up for PFF Fantasy Gold and gain access to 100 percent of our rankings, projections and expert advice through the Summer of 2016. Gold is available for only $29.99, or you can get it free by opening an account with DraftKings and depositing at least $10.00.
Pessimism about 2015 being Marshall’s comeback season is warranted as he is moving from a bad situation to one that is worse. Last season, the Jets’ anemic offense finished 32nd in passing, and was rated the third-worst passing offense by Pro Football Focus with a grade of -64.9. Their offensive woes were largely due to the poor play of quarterback Geno Smith, the assumed starter for 2015, who finished the season as Pro Football Focus’ 30th-ranked quarterback in the league for passing (-16.0).
Considering the Jets first-year head coach, Todd Bowles, has a defensive background, their offensive coordinator, Chan Gailey, will likely be the offensive strategist. He is known for implementing an offensive style that best fits his player personnel, and not one particular scheme. So, it’s difficult to predict what the Jets offense will look like this season. Nevertheless, considering Gailey had only two top-10 offenses during his 10 seasons as an offensive play caller, it’s difficult to expect him to right the Jets offense in one season – especially with Smith as his quarterback.
Marshall will be playing alongside Eric Decker and Jeremy Kerley – assuming Percy Harvin is let go. Marshall is projected to have 71 receptions for 941 yards and six touchdowns. This makes him a low-end WR3. Due to name recognition alone, expect Marshall’s price tag to be much higher than that in this season’s fantasy drafts and auctions.
In Chicago, Alshon Jeffery and Marquess Wilson will lead the Bears receiving corps. While expecting Jay Cutler to be their starting quarterback, Jeffery is projected to have 90 receptions for 1,382 yards and 10 touchdowns, making him a solid WR1. Wilson is projected to have 57 receptions for 661 yards and five touchdowns, leaving him just outside the projected top-50 fantasy wide receivers.