According to a number of different reporters the Jets will be trading a mid round draft pick to acquire Brandon Marshall from the Chicago Bears. My assumption is that the pick will be a 5th rounder since the Jets 4th and 6th round picks will technically be tied up in the Percy Harvin trade from last season through the NFL draft.
Marshall is a very accomplished receiver that had posted seven 1,000 yard seasons in a row before falling to just 721 last season as he struggled with injuries and an ineffective offense. Marshall is 31 years old and should be able to produce for at least two more years at the 1,000 yard level, provided he stays healthy. The Jets will take on $7.7 million in salary for Marshall this year. His 2016 and 2017 salaries of $8.1 and $8.5 million are non-guaranteed, meaning that if the 700 yard season was a sign of things to come he can be released without future salary cap implications. Neither side should push to rework the contract given that Marshall was just signed in 2014.
The Bears had signed Marshall to a contract extension last year that paid him a $7.5 million signing bonus and $7.5 million salary. The team ended up getting just one year for $15 million, essentially as if he was a franchise player, so from that perspective the extension was a disaster for the Bears. The Bears will now carry $5.625 million in dead money for Marshall this season, but that will allow them to create another $3.95 million in cap room. For Chicago this is probably a sign of the lack of faith that the new regime has in the roster that was constructed by former GM Phil Emery and they will be looking to turn over as many veteran pieces as possible.
This move should signal the end of Harvin’s brief tenure with the Jets last season. Harvin was acquired in the middle of the season when then GM John Idzik was getting hammered in the press for not being proactive in his approach to help the team. Harvin was highly overpaid by the Seahawks and had been overvalued for some time around NFL circles. With the Jets already having Eric Decker, Jeremy Kerley and Jace Amaro under contract, Harvin should be the odd man out.
Harvin was set to earn $10.5 million this season and he would need to bring that number down if he wanted to stay. Reports were that he balked at such a move and this trade would seem to indicate that the Jets realized it was time to move on. Marshall is not only more productive but also cheaper. Last season Harvin did not reach 500 receiving yards. He will likely struggle to earn $6 million a year if he is released.
The trade can not be official until March 10, which likely means the Jets would not make a move with Harvin until that date. We will not update any of the cap charts to reflect the trade until it is actually official with the NFL.