The Chicago Bears are reportedly putting wide receiver Brandon Marshall on the trade block, per multiple reports.
The Chicago Bears are putting wide receiver Brandon Marshall on the trading block.
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According to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport (via NFL.com's Dan Hanzus), the Bears are looking to trade Marshall, citing a league source. This is part of the team's plans 'to clean up the locker room,' per Rapoport.
Despite inking a four-year deal with the Bears last spring, Marshall "appears to have fallen out of favor with the team following a 2014 season in which he was outspoken with the press and on social media and was involved in a well-publicized locker-room incident during the season," says Hanzus.
Brad Biggs of The Chicago Tribune confirmed in his March 5 report that the Bears are indeed looking at several trade options for the volatile wide receiver. Biggs cites a source who says the team's management is taking calls inquiring about Marshall. Another source said Chicago is actively seeking to deal him.
It remains to be seen what the Bears want in return for Marshall, although Biggs points out "it's almost certainly less than the two third-round draft picks they sent to the Miami Dolphins in exchange for him in March 2012."
New Bears general manager Ryan Pace told Biggs about where the team stands with Marshall during the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis last month:
"We met him like a lot of individual players and that's going to be a slow process and we look forward to evaluating that. Sometimes these reputations outside the building, you get inside and it's not what you expected and I think we need to make our own decisions and our own judgments and that's the process we're going through right now."
Marshall told The Chicago Tribune's Rich Campbell on Feb. 11 he remains unsure if he will return to the Bears next season. However, he did reiterate he wants to end his playing days in Chicago:
"I don't think anybody would be (comfortable) sitting in the gray, but this is the National Football League. This is our business. It's not a unique situation. It happens every single year.
"Like I said in the middle of the season, some players think that when you lose, oh, the coach is going to be gone. No, they move players, too. I get that and understand that.
"I definitely love Chicago, but I definitely understand it's a business on both ends. For me, I want to win. The organization wants to win. (Owner) Mrs. (Virginia) McCaskey wants to win, so, definitely aligned there. But there's a business side on both ends, and I get that."
Cambell stresses the Bears will save $7.7 million in cash and $3.95 in salary-cap space if they decide to release Marshall before March 12.
Hanzus says the 31-year-old Marshall remained a productive player in his third season in Chicago. He amassed 721 yards and eight touchdowns on 61 receptions before he sat out the rest of the 2014 NFL season in Week 14 with a rib injury.
ESPN Chicago's Michael C. Wright adds Marshall also had to deal with a punctured lung as last season wound down. It was the first time in eight seasons he failed to top at least 1,000 yards receiving. His best season came in 2012, when he recorded 1,508 receiving yards and 118 receptions, helping the Bears finish with a 10-6 record.
On the other hand, Marshall's third year in the Windy City was also his most turbulent.
The Bears finished just 5-11 under former head coach Marc Trestman and missed the postseason for the fourth consecutive year. He made headlines after he was heard yelling at teammate and Bears kicker Robbie Gould in the locker room after a loss to the Miami Dolphins last season. He also challenged a Detroit Lions fan and Lions center Dominic Raiola to fights on Twitter, per Biggs.
Marshall also criticized his quarterback, Jay Cutler, on WMVP-AM (via The Chicago Tribune) after Trestman decided to bench the latter. Cutler signed a record seven-year, $126.7 million deal with the Bears last offseason. In the WMVP-AM interview, Marshall quipped,"I'd have buyer's remorse, too."
Biggs says the Bears will be on the market for an able wide receiver opposite Alshon Jeffery. Chicago reportedly hosted former Dolphins wide receiver Brian Hartline on March 5.
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