Deal for Marshall gives Dolphins a go-to guy
By STEVEN WINE
AP Sports Writer
MIAMI (AP) — Bill Parcells, who knows a thing or two about talented, temperamental receivers, decided Brandon Marshall is worth the trouble.
Parcells and the Miami Dolphins also decided Marshall is worth two second-round draft picks, and perhaps even a contract extension making him one of the NFL’s best-paid pass catchers.
Miami acquired the high-maintenance Pro Bowl wideout Wednesday for a second-round pick next week and another next year. Once in Miami, he was expected to sign the long-term deal he has been seeking for more than a year.
Marshall fills the Dolphins’ most glaring need: a go-to guy who will loosen up defenses for their potentially potent ground game and young, strong-armed quarterback Chad Henne.
However, the former Central Florida star returns to the Sunshine State with plenty of issues. While he caught at least 100 passes each of the past three years and made the Pro Bowl the past two seasons, the Broncos were willing to part with Marshall because he became a chronic headache.
He has a history of domestic violence, clashed with coach Josh McDaniels and was summoned to the office of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
That didn’t dissuade Parcells, who had mixed results working with headline-making receivers Terry Glenn in New England, Keyshawn Johnson in New York and Terrell Owens in Dallas.
The Dolphins’ Marshall plan is unknown, because the ever-secretive team didn’t comment beyond a brief news release. But he’s their biggest addition since Venus and Serena Williams, who added glamour to the team’s ownership group last year but failed to catch a single pass.
Miami’s receiving corps wasn’t too productive, either. The Dolphins totaled two touchdown passes of 20 yards or more last season, fewest in the NFL.
Speedy Ted Ginn Jr. has been a disappointment since Miami took him with the ninth overall draft pick in 2007. Ginn and the other wideouts — Brian Hartline, Davone Bess and Greg Camarillo — combined for only six touchdown catches last season while averaging just 11.7 yards per catch.
“We need big playmakers,” general manager Jeff Ireland said in February. “We need players that make chunk yardage. We need players that score touchdowns. We need to get more production out of the wide receiver position.”
Marshall provides production. Last year he caught 101 passes, including an NFL-record 21 in a loss at Indianapolis, for 1,120 yards and a career-high 10 touchdowns.
New Dolphins defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, who was with Denver last season, is sure to have played a role in Miami’s decision to make the trade. It frees up the Dolphins to use the No. 12 pick in the draft on the defensive front seven, where help is also sorely needed.
The Broncos, who pick 11th in the first round, have needs at linebacker and elsewhere, and they’ll now likely address receiver in the draft, too. Marshall’s departure leaves Jabar Gaffney, who had 54 catches for 732 yards and two TDs last season, as Denver’s top receiver.
The trade came three days after receiver Santonio Holmes was acquired by the Jets, Miami’s AFC East rivals. Division power New England has Randy Moss and Wes Welker, who is recovering from knee surgery.
“Exciting about the direction we are taking can only get better!!!” tweeted Dolphins cornerback Vontae Davis, who will be covering Holmes and Moss in games and Marshall in practice.
The deal also earned three exclamation marks from Miami cornerback Sean Smith.
“We got B Marsh, thass my dude!!!” Smith tweeted.
For the Broncos, the blockbuster trade was the second in as many offseasons under McDaniels. Denver sent quarterback Jay Cutler to Chicago last April for Kyle Orton and draft picks.
Marshall is the biggest trade acquisition by the Dolphins since running back Ricky Williams came to Miami in 2002 for four draft picks, including two first-rounders.
Marshall signed his $2.521 million tender Tuesday to facilitate a trade. His final destination was a surprise, because the Dolphins had indicated little interest.
In March, the Broncos slapped a first-round tender on Marshall. Teams were unwilling to part with a first-round draft pick as compensation, mindful that his resume included as many missteps as touchdowns.
Because of Marshall’s legal record, he’s one strike from a yearlong suspension. He was suspended for the 2008 opener following a series of disputes involving a former girlfriend. Last summer, he was suspended by the Broncos for throwing a tantrum at practice during training camp, when he was unhappy with his contract and with the team’s medical staff.
AP Sports Writers Arnie Stapleton and Pat Graham in Denver contributed to this report.