Brace yourselves, Broncos fans, because a Brandon Marshall trade could be coming sooner rather than later.
This morning, news broke at Pro Football Talk that the Broncos and Brandon Marshall were sitting down for a "talk", to talk about a number of potential variables. The most likely scenario has the Broncos and Marshall sitting down today to talk about him signing his restricted free agent tender, because the Broncos are probably close to completing a trade for the disgruntled receiver.
Fox 31 is reporting that there has been much more interest in Marshall than what is currently being reported, which would make sense considering the fact that only the Seattle Seahawks currently have "serious" interest, which many around the Broncos fan base has felt is very unlikely.
Marshall could be soon on the way out, but what will the Broncos receive as compensation?
Recent reports from the Denver Post have indicated that Marshall could be had for Seattle's second round pick (60th overall), which is 54 spots lower than the Broncos are allegedly holding out for if Seattle were to sign him. In all likelihood, the Broncos would accept their own first round pick (14th overall) back from the Seahawks, but Seattle is reportedly not interested in dealing a first round pick.
They may be overplaying their hand.
What some in the media fail to realize is that the Broncos are not in any place where they feel they have to trade Marshall. He essentially held his end of the bargain by performing at a Pro Bowl level in 2009, and the team is now potentially accomodating his year old trade request.
Then, this morning emerged reports that famed agent Drew Rosenhaus thinks that Marshall will be dealt for a "2nd round pick, and a lesser pick".
How soon before Marshall is out of orange and blue?While the ride of Brandon Marshall has been nothing short of a crazy rollercoaster, the troubled wide receiver has been one of the NFL's most consistent and feared possession receivers in the last three seasons. Some Broncos fans want him gone, and some would hate to see him leave.
Whether you are in one camp or the other, the general consensus is that Marshall will be traded, or at least there is better than a 50 percent chance of it happening.
Those chances have increased greatly over the last couple of weeks, as the Broncos have privately worked out and interviewed ten wide receiver prospects in the up-coming NFL Draft. Take that for what you will, but it indicates clearly that this team is preparing for the departure of their star receiver.
If Marshall is gone, who will replace him as the focal point of the Broncos' passing game?
One name that has been linked to the Broncos since February is Oklahoma State wide receiver Dez Bryant, who is one of the most controvertial prospects available in April's draft.
After being dismissed from the NCAA for lying about a meeting he had with Deion Sanders, numerous questions have risen about Bryant's character, his dedication, and his work ethic. It got to the point that some analysts actually believed Bryant could fall out of the first round of the draft.
Those reports of his work ethic and character have since been dubbed, "overblown" by many major media outlets, and in all likelihood, they are. Bryant was one of the most prolific pass receivers in college football over the last three years, and prior to his suspension he was on pace for a tremendous junior campaign.
Bryant made some interesting points in a recent interview with Sports Illustrated's Peter King. He reminded folks that he's never been in trouble with the law, he doesn't drink, and he doesn't smoke "weed". He's right. As much as we can harp on Bryant for forgetting his cleats, the Broncos have players now and have recently drafted players with much more checkered pasts than Bryant.
Robert Ayers was arrested in 2005 for assault, Knowshon Moreno was recently accused of the same crime, though charges have been dropped. Chris Baker has been kicked off of Penn State's football team, and the list goes on.
The point is, nobody is perfect. You can say, well what about when Bryant gets an NFL contract? Then he will be even worse than he is now! You could argue that for any NFL player, or any prospect in this draft.
If and when the Broncos trade Marshall, you've got to think that Denver will be looking for a new wide receiver early in the draft, and certainly if they obtain two first round picks, Bryant has to be an option.
Or maybe not.
The Broncos have worked out nine other wide receivers in the last couple of weeks, including big name prospects such as USC's Damian Williams, Illinois' Arrelious Benn, and Minnesota's Eric Decker.
Clearly the Broncos are ready to move on from Brandon Marshall, it just depends on whether or not they receive fair compensation. If the team is offered a first round pick or something of equal value, you can bet that they will pull the trigger, and Marshall will be a Bronco no more.
If no fair offer is made, well, the Broncos will just have to suffer another year with a Pro Bowl wide receiver at a very reasonable price. It's a win-win situation for the Broncos, who have a lot more leverage in the situation than they are given credit.
One thing is for sure--fans are ready for closure in the situation. That could come sooner rather than later.