Ravens 'Should At Least Inquire' About WR Brandon Marshall If Cut By Jets
If the New York Jets opt to rebuild this offseason and release wide receiver Brandon Marshall as a cap casualty, a move that is widely speculated in New York, he would very much fit the veteran receiver mold the Ravens usually target in free agency.
"[Y]ou'd have to think Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome would at least inquire [if Marshall is cut]," wrote The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec.
Here's why, per Zrebiec:
1) Marshall, 32, fits the profile of past veterans such as Steve Smith Sr., Anquan Boldin and Derrick Mason. They were nearing the ends of their careers, but still had plenty of juice left in their legs to make a big impact.
2) He could be the physical possession receiver that can move the chains in clutch situations and would nicely complement the speed of Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman.
3) As a cap casualty, Marshall wouldn't count against the compensatory pick formula.
4) Head Coach John Harbaugh has a history of allowing veteran players to "be themselves." This is something for which Smith frequently voiced appreciation. Marshall has a big, brash personality, and seeing Smith thrive in Baltimore could be appealing. (And, remember when Marshall asked Harbaugh if he'd allow him to accept media opportunities if he played for the head coach? The two seem to have a good foundation for a relationship.)
5) Again, like Smith did, Marshall would come to Baltimore with a chip on his shoulder. Acquiring veterans who are out to prove they can still produce has been beneficial in the past. For example, after signing with Baltimore last offseason, Wallace had his best year (72 catches for 1,017 yards) since leaving Pittsburgh in 2012.
Zrebiec said the current class of free-agent wide receivers "isn't overly impressive." Marshall could change that.
Marshall is scheduled to count $7.5 million against the Jets' cap in 2017, and they wouldn't incur a single penny in dead money if they released him. That number is not unreasonable for a receiver of Marshall's caliber (by comparison, Wallace's cap hit next year is $8 million), but NewJersey.com's Connor Hughes says it makes more sense for the Jets to cut him than keep him.* *
In his 11th NFL season, Marshall caught just 59 passes for 788 yards and three touchdowns, but he is one season removed from a monstrous 109-catch, 1,502 yard, 10-touchdown season in 2015.
That drop-off could be explained by No. 2 receiver Eric Decker being placed on injured reserve, allowing defenses to focus more on Marshall, and the endless rotation of quarterbacks. Marshall is determined to show he's still an elite receiver, and if released, a quarterback like Joe Flacco could be appealing.
"There's all this talk in the media about what is the organization going to do," Marshall said in January, per The New York Post. "Are they going to rebuild? Will they get rid of vets? When it comes to my situation it's, 'Oh, he's older. He's not good anymore. He's due all this money.'
"I will say that I'm aware the National Football League stands for 'What have you done for me lately'? It's not about what you did the year before. The year before, I did some amazing things, but I think there were a lot of circumstances that made it tough for all of us to perform at a high level. When you look at that, I still know that I am an elite wide receiver, a dominant receiver that demands a lot of attention. For that, there comes a price. That's what I was trying to say. When you look at what I've done for my entire career, I've never been fairly compensated for that. Again, it's not about the money. At this point in my career, it's about winning. But if we're going to continue to have this conversation about money, that's my stance."
Will Wallace Return In 2017? It Depends On One Major Factor
Adding Marshall to a receiving corps that includes Wallace would look reeeeally nice on paper, but the chances of that actually happening aren't high at this point.
That's partly because, just like Marshall, many have speculated that Wallace could be released in Baltimore to save on cap space. What is Wallace's fate in Baltimore?
"[T]hat is the $5.75 million question," wrote ESPN's Jamison Hensley. "The reason I couch it that way is the Ravens would free up that much in salary-cap room by releasing Wallace. The decision ultimately comes down to whether the Ravens believe they can get a speedy downfield threat at a lower cost than Wallace."
Hensley added that "on the surface" it seems surprising that anyone would contemplate parting ways with Wallace after he led the team in receiving yards (1,017). And, if you combine his production with Smith's (retired) and Aiken's (pending free agent), that's half of the Ravens' passing offense walking out the door.
One potential concern is that most of Wallace's production came in the first half of the season, and it began to trail off in the last eight games when he only had 33 catches for 403 yards and no touchdowns.
Hensley says Wallace's cap number is ultimately "reasonable," but the question come down to one major factor.
"If the Ravens believe they can replace Wallace with a receiver who has a similar skill set and comes at a reduced price, Baltimore has to consider making the move," Hensley wrote. "One potential option is a reunion with Torrey Smith, who has been a projected salary-cap cut by the 49ers."
2017 NFL Bad Lip Reading Features Several Ravens
I always enjoy it when the folks at Bad Lip Reading publish their newest video edition from the NFL season. This one made me smile, just like all of them do.
Harbaugh, Flacco, Smith, Terrell Suggs and Brandon Williams were all featured, but I'm not sure they were actually making up lines for Smith. This sounds like his typical self:
"Bro, I can't handle your face … because your face look like it got dirt in your mouth."
No Ravens Players Make Top-50 NFL Merchandise Sales List
After Ray Lewis and Ed Reed took off their purple uniforms, the Ravens restocked with new leaders, but nobody seems to have the star power that drives big merchandise sales.
The NFL Players Association released its quarterly Top 50 Player Sales List of 2017 and no Ravens made the cut. Flacco has made the list in the past, including last year when he was No. 49.
Per the NFLPA, the 50-player compilation is based on total sales of all officially licensed NFL player merchandise from March 1 through Nov. 30, which means this report includes sales that took place during the 2016 season.
The Ravens were one of seven teams that didn't have a player make the list, including the Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers.
Here are the top-10 players:
- Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots
- Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys
- Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys
- Odell Beckham Jr., WR, New York Giants
- Carson Wentz, QB, Philadelphia Eagles
- Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks
- Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers
- Dak Prescott, QB, Dallas Cowboys
- Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots
- Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers