For Marshall, he simply has to change locker rooms at MetLife Stadium. It likely allows him to continue doing broadcasting gigs in New York, such as his weekly appearances on “Inside the NFL.”
For the Giants, it gives them yet another dynamic receiver to pair with Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard. Some would argue they now have the best receiving corps in the NFL, a claim few teams would be able to argue.
Here are five reasons adding Marshall is the perfect move for the Giants.
Getty ImagesTom Szczerbowski
He has plenty left in the tank
Marshall is a rare talent. Not because of the fact that he’s almost a lock for 1,000 yards each season, but because he’s been able to do it for so long. Saying he’s done at the age of 32 (going on 33) is unfair, too.
Consider this. Only three receivers 31 or older have ever caught 100 passes for 1,500 yards in a season: Marshall, Andre Johnson and Jerry Rice. That just goes to show you how remarkable his 2015 season was, and that was just two years ago.
His numbers in 2016 weren’t representative of how much he has left in the tank, simply because the Jets were a complete mess with only one great receiver. Eric Decker was injured, Ryan Fitzpatrick and the rest of the quarterbacks were terrible, and Marshall had no help on offense.
His addition pairs perfectly with Eli Manning’s window to win another Super Bowl. Manning probably has two to three good years left in him, which is about the same for Marshall. The Giants are going all in on these next two seasons.
He’s a better (and cheaper) option than Victor Cruz
Cruz’s cap hit in 2017 was set to be $9.4 million – one of the highest on the team. They saved $7.5 million by releasing Cruz, effectively replacing him with a cheaper, more durable option in Marshall.
Not to mention, Marshall is an all-around better player than Cruz is. He’s finished with 1,000 yards or better in eight of the last 10 seasons, missing just seven games in that span. In the NFL, sometimes your best attribute is availability, and that’s something Cruz didn’t give the Giants.
Furthermore, Cruz went absent a handful of times last season. From Week 8 to Week 13, he was targeted just 14 times. He caught five passes for 164 yards in that span, proving he was no longer an integral part of the offense. That won’t happen with Marshall. Last season, he only had two games where he was targeted fewer than six times. Additionally, he had more targets in Week 5 (15) than Cruz had in that aforementioned six-game stretch (14).
And remember, he’s costing the Giants just $6 million per year compared to $9.4 million for Cruz in 2017.
Getty ImagesAl Bello
He opens up deep routes for Odell Beckham Jr. (and vice versa)
Marshall isn’t a deep threat. He never has been. At 6-4, 230 pounds, he’s far from a burner. That’s OK. He thrives on intermediate routes across the middle, never shying away from contact with safeties and linebackers lurking between the numbers.
What that does is open up opportunities downfield for Beckham and Sterling Shepard. Marshall will draw safeties in on slants and digs, forcing them to focus their attention on him at times.
Additionally, it works the other way around, too. Beckham, with his speed and playmaking ability, can command the attention of safeties over the top, thus opening up the middle of the field for Marshall. That’s exactly what the Jets hoped to have when they drafted Devin Smith two years ago, but he never panned out.
Now, the Giants are capitalizing on this opportunity by pairing Marshall with not one, but two speedy receivers. It’s the perfect fit for Ben McAdoo’s offense, assuming Eli Manning gets enough protection in the pocket.
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He always plays well in his first season with a new team
This is the fourth time since 2010 that Marshall is changing teams. That seems like it’d be a concern for a receiver as talented as he is, but his production never ceases to impress in Year 1 with his new team.
In his first season with the Dolphins, he had 86 catches for 1,014 yards and three touchdowns. In 2012, his first year in Chicago, he had 118 catches for 1,508 yards and 11 touchdowns. When he moved on to the Jets in 2015, he continued this trend with 109 receptions for 1,502 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Average those numbers out and you get 104 catches, 1,341 yards and nine touchdowns.
This should ease the concerns that Marshall can’t thrive in his first year with a new team in a new system. He can, and he’s proved that time and time again. He could very well become the first player with 1,000-yard seasons on five different teams.
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He gives the Giants a big receiver in the red zone
The Giants were one of the worst teams in the red zone last season. They scored a touchdown on just 51 percent of their trips inside the 20, which was 22nd in the NFL. A big reason for that was that they didn’t have a big receiver who could box out defenders in the corner of the end zone. Not having a good running game didn’t help, but Marshall’s presence alleviates both concerns. He can line up as an X receiver, run a short fade route and come down with those 50-50 balls in the end zone.
That’s something the Giants haven’t had since Hakeem Nicks was in his prime. Yes, Beckham is a leaper and can haul in fades, too, but there’s a difference between a 5-11, 194-pound receiver doing that and one who’s 6-4, 230 pounds. Marshall will be a force in the red zone.
He’ll help Manning, who only had 17 touchdowns in the red zone last season – 14th in the NFL. His 53.7 completion percentage was worse than the likes of Blake Bortles and Colin Kaepernick, another area in which he can improve.