Sorry for the delay on this, I've been meaning to get to it but kept posting crap on twitter instead of putting together paragraphs. Mea culpa. So, here are a few thoughts on Marshall and his potential costs... Shall we?
Point One: Brandon Marshall is a top 4 receiving talent in the NFL. I would argue top 3, but considering what Calvin Johnson has done with the Lions behind him, we'll call them 3A and 3B. His phenomenal talent has strangely become a backburner issue in the media discussion, I think largely because we take that fact for granted. It is not every day that you can get a Top 4 player at any position, but especially one of dire need. That leads me to...
Point Two: Wide receiver is a position of dire need for the Seahawks. Not only did we lose Nate Burleson, but the best WR on our team is approaching his mid-30s and was unimpressive last year. The best way to get true value out of Houshmandzadeh is to bring in someone better to pull the double teams. Look at Housh's production in Cincinnati with OchoCinco, and imagine him with a better talent across the field. Bringing in Marshall would also give the team a better ability to analyze Deon Butler and see the things he can do. Look for Bates to use him in the same way he used Eddie Royal in 2008, again, across from Marshall.
Point Three: Brandon Marshall is an absolute headcase. At least, he has been. We've been trained over the last few years not to even consider these guys, they were never going to be an option for Ruskell. There's a new sheriff in town, and it's a guy who has worked directly with troubled men and teens for much of the last ten years, someone who has seen the pain that Marshall's been through. Now, Marshall has still been a complete idiot, there is no excuse for his behavior, but it's clear that he was traumatized by Williams' shooting. He might deserve another shot, if the price is right...
Point Four: What's the price? This is the key question. I want to break it down into a few possibilities... follow me?
- 2nd Round Pick + 4th Round Pick -- This is a possibility, and it's hard to argue that its too much to ask for a player of Marshall's caliber. I would argue, though, that this is more expensive than some of the other options. The Seahawks have a LOT of needs right now, and those needs must be filled with starters. While generally you will find a starter between the first three rounds, there are plenty of 4th Rd picks who start in certain positions: offensive line, safety, and longer-term, anyone. Obviously we'll expect the #40 to start. So, you potentially cede two starters for one, when you need about 8.
- #14 Pick - This would allow Denver to get their original pick back, which they would be happy to take I would imagine (especially as no one else is thinking about presenting an offer sheet right now). They would in essence be trading A. Smith for B. Marshall, but they get an extra year of service out of Marshall. Not a bad trade for either team, really.
- #6 Pick - The Seahawks sign Marshall to an offer sheet, Denver does not match. They get our #6, we get their #1 WR. Everyone seems up in arms about this possibility, and while I don't like it, it's not as bad a deal as some might think. After all, how many were in favor of us taking Michael Crabtree at #4 last year? The difference is that Marshall is proven, Crabtree was not. Still, I think this is unlikely and would be a bit disappointed if this was the route we went.
- Swap Picks - Check out the Trade Value Chart generally used by the NFL. Lets value Marshall as the #16 pick -- that assumes that the "average" NFL team signs him to an offer sheet and the Broncos take that compensation. That is worth 1,000 points of draft value. The Seahawks #6 pick is worth 1,600, Broncos #11 is worth 1,250; we just made up 350 points. Then we trade the 14th pick for the 2nd round Broncos pick, a net gain to the Broncos of 650 points. Add those up and we get... whoa, 1,000 points exactly. Believe it or not, when I started writing this, I didn't realize how perfect it would work out, but there you have it. In this scenario, we give up 0 draft picks and take the 11th, 40th and 45th picks in the 2010 NFL draft.
There are a thousand ways this could go, of course, so this is by no means a comprehensive list. But it's intriguing, no?
My bottom line is this: the Seahawks NEED a playmaker. They need a WR. They need speed, size, and durability in the key offensive positions. Yes, the line must be built. Yes, a QB needs to come in. Yes, the defense is need of tweaking -- defensive end, safeties, possibly a DT -- but without any explosion on offense, we'll continue to be mediocre. In 2005, we had Alexander and a great line. In 2010, we could have Marshall and a good line. Behind a good run-blocking line, Forsett could be great (anyone could, potentially).
We need TALENT on offense desperately. Time to stop plugging holes in the life raft and upgrade to a better boat. Is Marshall the answer? At the right price, I think you have to acknowledge that he may be. It's still a risk though, it's always a risk. Unlike recent (read: Ruskell) risks -- Branch, Kerney, Houshmandzadeh, Grant -- this one is 25 and has undeniable production with no durability issues. Time to take that plunge, fellahs.