New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is always looking for a bargain and he’s willing to search in the most unlikely of places. The trade deadline is tomorrow, Tuesday, November 1st and 4:00 PM EST, and you can be certain that Belichick and director of player personnel Nick Caserio are working the phone lines.
So what would you do if a division rival offered you an aging blue chip player for a midround pick- would you do it?
MMQB’s Peter King roleplays as Jets GM Mike Mcaccagnan in his weekly essay and thinks that a 3rd round pick for 32-year-old WR Brandon Marshall would be a fair trade. Even Marshall thinks it unlikely that he finishes the year with the Jets, even though he loves his team.
“I would be disappointed if I was traded,” Marshall said via the NYDN. “I love it here. I want to finish what we started here with Coach [Todd] Bowles. But I don’t think that will happen.”
Marshall has a pretty straightforward contract with a $9.5 million base salary in 2016 (which the Patriots would have to pay for the second half of the season) and $7.5 million base in 2017.
He’s also still playing at an extremely high level, with 2,042 receiving yards dating back to the start of 2015, the 5th highest total in the NFL, behind just Falcons WR Julio Jones (2,730), Steelers WR Antonio Brown (2,426), Bengals WR A.J. Green (2,193), and Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. (2,080). Marshall’s 16 receiving touchdowns since the start of 2015 trails only Jaguars WR Allen Robinson (17).
There are so many reasons not to trade for Marshall.
First, where does he fit into an offense that rolls six or seven deep with viable starters? He would have to take away time from WR Chris Hogan or WR Julian Edelman, both of whom are younger, more experienced in the Patriots system, and have multiple years remaining on their contracts with the Patriots.
Second, Marshall spent a year with Patriots OC Josh McDaniels in Denver during 2009 and picked up 101 receptions for 1,120 yards and 10 touchdowns. McDaniels promptly traded him to the Dolphins in 2010. Now Marshall has grown a lot since then, but there’s some friction that would have to be accounted for- including with former teammate TE Martellus Bennett.
Third, is a third round pick too expensive? They just acquired one from the Browns. The Patriots found a long-term starter in LG Joe Thuney in the third round this year and DT Vincent Valentine and QB Jacoby Brissett look promising. Is a year and a half of Marshall worth a 3rd round pick? Possibly, but it would come at the expense of long term roster building.
Now I don’t think Marshall will be traded this year, and definitely not to the Patriots. He’s a leader in the Jets locker room and there’s still the slimmest of odds that they can turn their season around- odds that disappear if Marshall joins the Patriots for the two games left between the franchises this season.
And I’m not sure the Patriots would want to part with a 3rd round pick for Marshall, especially this late in the year. I would lump Marshall in with OT Joe Thomas and OT Joe Staley in the “call the Patriots if you’ll take a ham sandwich” category.
It’s possible that the Patriots are done with trading this season, after sending TE AJ Derby to the Broncos, LB Jamie Collins to the Browns, and acquiring LB Kyle Van Noy from the Lions. Is there anyone else on the trade block that you would want the Patriots to acquire?