The crazy season is heating up in the NFL. With five days remaining until the start of the new league year, the Chicago Bears are exploring trade options with wide receiver Brandon Marshall. The Chicago Tribune is reporting the Bears are looking to get a deal done, and might be open to moving Marshall for a mid-round pick. The Bears originally acquired Marshall from the Miami Dolphins for a pair of third round picks.
Marshall is coming off his worst statistical season since his rookie year. He finished with 61 receptions for 721 yards and eight touchdowns. It is important to note he missed the final three games with a rib and lung injury. His previous lows since his rookie season were 81 receptions (2011), 1,014 yards and three touchdowns (2010). A healthy finish to the season would have gotten him much closer to the 1,000-yard mark.
As with every big name, a few people have inquired about whether the San Francisco 49ers would make a move for Marshall. A mid-round pick is quite cheap, but part of the reason is his fairly sizable contract. Marshall is due $7.5 million in 2015, $7.9 million in 2016, and $8.3 million in 2017. He also has $200,000 workout bonuses each of those years. If a team with limited cap space makes a move for him, it would likely have to include some kind of contract restructuring.
Of course, a team with sizable cap room might have no problem making a deal for him (Oakland Raiders, Jacksonville Jaguars, Philadelphia Eagles?). I would certainly love seeing a guy like Marshall on the team, but this would also be his fourth team. I don't know Marshall personally, but he has been in the news plenty. He has had some legal troubles, and announced that he has a borderline personality disorder. I don't really know what that means with regard to his movement around the league, but it is certainly something to keep in mind if the 49ers were to try and make a move for him.
There has not been a rumor as to who has contacted, or at least will contact the Bears, but his availability is officially on the radar. The 49ers could move a mid-round pick, or maybe they could interest the Bears in Michael Wilhoite and a later pick. Vic Fangio is over in Chicago now, so maybe adding a guy like Wilhoite (reportedly on the market) might intrigue him. Once again, for a team like the 49ers, it will come down in large part to whether or not Marshall would be willing to re-structure his contract.