Brandon Marshall’s lone season as a New York Giant was a disaster. The Seattle Seahawks are betting that was an aberration.
Seattle signed the six-time Pro Bowler to a one-year deal on Wednesday. It’s a move that could bolster a limited Seahawks receiving corps that lost both Paul Richardson and Jimmy Graham (1,200 receiving yards, 16 touchdowns between them) to free agency this spring.
Marshall broke the news, albeit unofficially, on Tuesday with a series of posts showing him in Seahawks gear.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the deal could be worth up to $2 million.
The move is a gamble for Pete Carroll’s team. Injuries limited Marshall to just five games last year, and he wasn’t a game-changer while he was on the field. His 8.6 yards-per-catch were a career low, and his 3.6 catches per game were the second-least of his career, trailing only an ineffectual rookie season with the Broncos.
Marshall will have to reverse the hands of time to reclaim the dominant playmaking ability that made him one of the league’s top receivers over a 12-year career. He’s now 34 years old, and while he made it to All-Pro and Pro Bowl selections in 2015, he’s struggled in the years since. His 2016 with the Jets, a season in which he had 788 receiving yards and only three touchdowns in 15 games, preceded last year’s disaster with a bad Giants team. The list of 34-year-old wideouts currently signed to NFL contracts for 2018 isn’t exactly a robust one, either; just Marshall and future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald fit both conditions.
But Seattle could play backdrop to a late-career revival for Marshall
Though Marshall is unlikely to rebound back to his 1,500-yard days, he can still bring value as a low-cost addition for a needy Seahawks team. While he was ineffective in his last two seasons with the Jets and Giants, he was also stuck in football limbo with two bad passing offenses. The 2016 Jets ranked 27th in the league in passing yards thanks to a combination of Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bryce Petty, and Geno Smith behind center. The 2017 Giants (third in pass attempts per game but 19th in passing yardage) were so poorly managed that Ben McAdoo openly tried to get himself fired by benching Eli Manning for Smith for no real reason.
Marshall will get an instant upgrade — and arguably the best quarterback of his football career — playing with Russell Wilson. He’ll absorb targets almost by default, taking pressure from WR1 Doug Baldwin and clearing space for Tyler Lockett to thrive in the slot. Even if the longtime veteran is no longer the athlete he was at 25 — or even 31 — he’s still a 6’4 target who can take over Graham’s vacated role as the team’s red zone dynamo. Marshall will have plenty to prove in 2018, but Seattle will give him a great opportunity to show he isn’t cooked yet.