According to ESPN’s Field Yates, the New York Jets and wide receiver Brandon Marshall have agreed on a new contract that will increase his compensation by $1.3 million in 2015 and and $1.4 million in 2016. The news kind of came as a bit of a surprise considering the team is in the midst of a contract dispute with star defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson and taken at face value this has the look of the Jets disregarding their own and funneling money to outsiders as Marshall came over to the Jets in a trade in March. But this is probably a contract that should not be taken that way.
Marshall had originally signed a three year contract extension with the Bears last season that followed their free agent spending spree that they believed would help them win a championship. With Marshall looking like a long term piece of the puzzle it made sense to extend him and avoid either losing him in 2015 or having an upset player that they needed in 2014. But the timing of the extension is what is important. Marshall was extended in late May last season.
Often when player trades are made and a player has multiple years remaining on a contract there will be discussion made to sweeten the terms of the contract to have them consent to the trade. This is not that different than the situation that happened with LeSean McCoy moving from Philadelphia to Buffalo. The goal is to make the player happy with the new location.
My guess is this contract was agreed to when the Jets made the trade with the Bears. The CBA prohibits a player from agreeing to a renegotiated contract that increases his salary over the original terms of the deal for a full year from his last renegotiation. For Marhsall that would mean he had to wait until late May to receive an increased salary, which he now received from the Jets.
So that is likely the reason for the odd timing of this move and it should be received as the Jets refusing to work with one player but working with others on the team. It doesnt look great, but this was a hidden cost the Jets have likely been planning on having since March. The Jets now have about $4.8 million in cap room, so reworking Wilkerson’s contract next would certainly give them a little more leeway this season.