Brandon Marshall on the trade block? Browns not a good fit

Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall celebrates a touchdown with quarterback Josh McCown during the 2013 season. McCown was recently signed by the Browns after spending last season in Tampa Bay.

Zuma Press/Icon Sportswire

The Chicago Bears are reportedly shopping veteran wide receiver Brandon Marshall.

For a reason.

The Cleveland Browns need receivers and playmakers in general, but given the state of affairs with the perpetually rebuilding Browns, trading anything to bring in Marshall is not a risk worth taking.

The Browns need a No. 1 receiver — and, really, a true No. 2 — but also need a long-term answer at quarterback, need to be a running offense while that quarterback search continues and need players on board with the program for at least a couple of seasons.

Yes, Marshall is big and hard to cover and a proven playmaker. But he turns 31 later this month, has played in 136 NFL games and has already been traded twice in his career — for a reason. He missed three games last season, the first games he’d missed since 2010. He’s caused a bit of drama in his career, on and off the sideline and both during and after games.

All receivers have demands and egos, sure. But does anyone think Marshall would be a happy soldier with the way the Browns are going to have to play offense?

The Bears were a disaster on and off the field last season, and an administration change is as good a time as any to move on from a volatile player like Marshall. It’s about money, too – his base salary of $7.5 million for 2015 becomes fully guaranteed next Thursday, March 12, two days after the league year begins.

That says the Bears may end up just cutting him a year after paying him $14 million.


New Browns quarterback Josh McCown knows Marshall from their time with the Bears, and they had some success — on an offense that had other tall, productive targets. On Nov. 24, 2013, McCown went 36-of-47 for 352 yards and two touchdowns. Marshall caught 10 passes for 117 yards and a touchdown. The Bears lost by 21.

Marshall will want big money even if he’s released. The Browns have money to spend, but a lot of experienced receivers are about to be available, players of various sizes and skill levels. Their resources are best spent on chasing one (or two) not named Brandon Marshall.