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Brandon Marshall a Super Bowl Piece for Chicago Bears?
The NFL’s free agency period officially opened on Tuesday and the Chicago Bears indeed did make a big move – but via trade. The Bears traded two third-round draft picks, this year’s and next year’s, to the Miami Dolphins for receiver Brandon Marshall, reuniting Marshall with quarterback Jay Cutler, his former Denver Broncos teammate.
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The Bears, who had two third-round picks in this draft (thanks to the Greg Olson trade to Carolina last year) have been looking forever for a big, No. 1 receiver to help Cutler out. It was presumed the Bears would take a receiver with their first-round pick in this year’s draft but now they could look elsewhere. The 6-foot-4 Marshall instantly gives the Bears’ offense, now under first-year coordinator Mike Tice, a big-time playmaker. Chicago hasn't had a receiver with a 1,000-yard season in nine years.
The 27-year-old Marshall caught 81 passes for 1,214 yards and six touchdowns last season (he was the Pro Bowl MVP), his fifth year in a row with at least 1,000 yards. He caught at least 100 passes for at least 1,120 yards in three seasons in Denver. Also in Chicago is quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates, who worked with Cutler and Marshall with the Broncos. The Bears were interested in Chargers free agent WR Vincent Jackson but weren’t willing to meet his price. And another top free agent WR to be was New Orleans’ Marques Colston, but he re-signed with the Saints Tuesday.
Marshall, who turns 28 on March 23, has $6 million of his $9.3 million base salary for 2012 guaranteed provided he doesn’t receive another NFL suspension – he has had some off-field issues in his career. Marshall is also under contract to the Bears for 2013 and 2014 at $9.1 million a season. Miami now is in the market again for a No. 1 receiver, which could affect whether Peyton Manning wants to sign there.
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