For the second time this week, an NFL superstar has been traded away.
Here are six takeaways from the Marshall trade:
1. Cap space galore
By trading away Marshall, Chicago creates $7.7 million in cash savings and frees up nearly $4 million in salary cap. The Bears need to address multiple areas across their defense and now have some work to do on the offensive side of the ball, so the extra money will do them well.
On the other end of the spectrum, the Jets will take on Marshall’s $7.7 million salary for 2015. The wide receiver is slated to make $8.1 million in 2016 and $8.5 million in 2017, though his salary is not guaranteed. Overall, Marshall will count $9.6 million against the 2015 salary cap, which barely effects a Jets team which boasts one of the best cap situations in the league entering the offseason.
2. Third time is a charm?
Only four players have been traded three or more times since the 1995 season. In addition to Marshall, Sage Rosenfels, Randy Moss, and Glyn Milburn also had to change jerseys a handful of times.
Marshall began his career with Jay Cutler on the Broncos before packing up his things to go to the Dolphins. While in Miami, he met current Jets coach Todd Bowels, who was on the defensive coaching staff. From Miami, Marshall was dealt to Chicago where he spent the past three seasons.
3. Jets finally nab a No. 1 receiver
The Jets have lacked a true No. 1 type of wide receivers since the Keyshawn Johnson days … that is, until now.
Wayne Chrebet, Laveranues Coles, Santana Moss, Jerricho Cotchery, Braylon Edwards, Jeremy Kerley and Eric Decker have each led the Jets in receiving since Johnson did so from 1997-99, though they all — with the exception of Edwards during his days in Cleveland — are better suited into the Robin role.
4. From worst to first?
With the addition of the perennial Pro Bowler, the Jets boast a receiving corps of Marshall, Decker, and Kerley. A true No. 1 wide receiver, Marshall allows Decker to fill in as a more reliable No. 2 option while Kerley can revert back to the slot where he’s most comfortable.
Over the past five years, the Jets’ wide receivers have ranked 31st in receptions and 30th in receiving yardage, according to ESPN Stats & Info. Now an argument can be made that the Jets boast the best receiving corps in the AFC East and among tops in the conference.
The Dolphins have made serious cuts at the position and are reportedly looking to deal Mike Wallace, and the Bills lack depth behind standout rookie Sammy Watkins. The Patriots’ top receiver is Julian Edelman, but are really led by all-world tight end Rob Gronkowski.
5. Now let’s go back to the quarterback
Is acquiring Marshall the organization’s way of saying, “Hey Geno Smith, here’s a real wide receiver?”
The Jets still hold the No. 6 pick in the draft, which we’ve slotted as the spot where Marcus Mariota will fall. The Jets could still be in the market for the Heisman Trophy winner, unless the front office believes Smith is still the guy now that he has an abundance of talent around him.
With Chris Ivory leading the backfield and a three-deep set of receivers, either Smith or a rookie has the tools to succeed.
6. Where do the Bears go?
The Bears have now sent Marshall out of town, leaving Alshon Jeffery to be “the guy” in Chi-Town. That’s all good, considering Jeffery has led the team in receiving each of the past two seasons, but Marshall’s presence in the lineup made a difference.
With Marshall on the field, Bears quarterbacks owned a Total QBR of 70.0. Without him, that number fell to 33.0 over the last two seasons, per ESPN Stats & Info.
Chicago has its own problems trying to figure out whether Cutler will even be under center for the team in 2015, or perhaps he’ll be the next player to pack up his bags and go. Whoever is playing quarterback won’t have Marshall at their disposal, though.