First, I want to thank everyone for the awesome conversation in the original post. This is an emotional subject and you guys and gals proved once again to be a cut above the Message Board crowd. Broncos fans are the most passionate in the NFL, and WE ALL WANT the Broncos to succeed.
Now, I just want to clear up a few points on how I feel about the matter. Sometimes, in the middle of a debate, one's position can get cloudy, and I want everyone to know exactly how I feel about this.
I want Brandon Marshall to be a Denver Bronco. If you got the feeling I did not, let this change the perception. I see the Broncos as having two options as we talk today. Trade Marshall or make him come to Camp. Let's look at both.
1. Trade Option -- My poll received some criticism because it was said to be unrealistic. "No team would give that much for Marshall". That's the point. If the Broncos are going to trade away Marshall, they need to get like value. That is an interesting word, value, because it means different things to different teams. We all know Marshall is a risk. To whom is the risk greater right now? The Broncos or a team that would be giving up a high draft pick and a player?
That's easy. There is a greater risk to a team who would have to trade away assets to get Marshall. If Baltimore, for example, trades a first round pick and a player, they will have to sign Marshall to the extension he wants. Double Whammy. Baltimore would have to be 100% sure of Marshall's health and character before making such a deal, right?
The Broncos, on the other hand, only have the risk of Marshall imploding this season since his contract is up after 2009. Has Marshall outperformed his contract? Yes! Let's not forget, however, that the reason Marshall fell to the 4th round is because of his off-field issues in college. He has only himself to blame for that.
Lastly, for those who think my 1st rounder and a player option is unrealistic, it might not be enough. In listening to Pat Kirwin on Sirius NFL Radio, he feels the Broncos should be asking for a 1st, 3rd AND a player.
2. Force Him to Play -- We've all heard this before. Players threaten to hold out, to stay away until Week 10 or whatever it is, in order to get their service time, the money be damned. The latest big name to threaten that was Lance Briggs, a linebacker in Chicago. He ended up coming in. $2.2 million is nothing to scoff at, and when push comes to shove Marshall is not going to let that money get away. Add to that the fact that Marshall will be playing for his next contract and I'd say there is motivation there.
Like it or not, football is a business. If we could look at Brandon Marshall in a vacuum, with just his play on the field, there would be no question that he deserves a new deal. We can't and neither can the Broncos. Since 2006, Marshall has yet to go ONE CALENDAR YEAR without getting into some kind of legal trouble. Again, we can debate if Roger Goodell's power is 'fair or not', but the reality is Goodell is just looking for a reason to throw the book at Marshall. That risk has to be accounted for.
Then there is the injury history. A shredded arm and a bad hip. Marshall proved he could come back from the arm, but now he needs to show the hip won't be a problem. Whether the Broncos training staff is to blame or not, you don't give big money to damaged goods. That goes right back to #1 since other teams will look at Marshall the same way.
That makes Marshall's true value greater to the Broncos than any other team. That's why I think he'll be a Bronco. It is also in Marshall's best interest to have a great season in 2009, regardless of who the QB is and how the team is doing. Look at Calvin Johnson last year in Detroit. If Marshall comes back and puts together that type of season, even of the Broncos are lousy, he'll get his money. Is there anything wrong with that?
To repeat, I want Marshall to be a Bronco, but the team has to shield itself from Brandon. Until he proves otherwise, he is a risk, and the Broncos are likely not the only team that feels that way.
UPDATE -- I felt this needed to be inserted becuase everyone is mentioning it. To put provisions in a new contract that would protect the team financially if Marshall would have further transgressions is fine. It would enable the Broncos to recoup money.
What is doesn't do is protect the Broncos from any SALARY CAP IMPLICATIONS. Should the Broncos sign Marshall to a Larry Fitzgerald-type contract, with a $10-$15 million cap number, that would still be on the books, regardless. That is the risk to the football side of things. The Broncos, and other teams, need to determine if 10-15% of the cap can be allocated to Marshall given the risk.