The Chicago Bears have agreed to trade wide receiver Brandon Marshall to the New York Jets, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. The deal hinges on Marshall passing a physical, but once he clears that hurdle, the Jets' roster will finally have someone more like the No. 1 receiver they've sought for several years.
The Jets sent a fifth-round pick to the Bears in exchange for Marshall. The Bears were reportedly seeking a mid-round pick in return for Marshall, according to reports on Thursday.
The move saves the Bears considerable room under the salary cap. Marshall's $7.5 million salary becomes guaranteed on March 12, said to be a major consideration for the Bears in dealing him. His cap hit this season is $9.575 million. He's signed through 2017, and his cap numbers are similar through the life of his deal. The Jets have more than $50 million in cap space, but may still opt to rework the deal.
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Marshall will be 31 for the upcoming season, and injuries limited his production last year in Chicago. He had 61 catches for 721 yards, the lowest totals of his career since his rookie season. He missed the last three games of the season with bruised ribs and a collapsed lung. Prior to 2014, Marshall had seven straight seasons with 1,000 yards or more.
This is the second year in a row that the Jets have made a move for a receiver in the spring. Last year, they brought in Eric Decker from the Broncos, buying high following his production in Denver with Peyton Manning. Adding Marshall to the stable of receivers should benefit Decker, who fits better as a second pass catching option. The question for the Jets now is whether or not to keep Percy Harvin. They can afford his $10.5 million salary -- though they're trying to get him to take a pay cut -- but the bigger issue is whether or not they can withstand the headache he brings.
Chicago will move on with Alshon Jeffery as their top receiver now. They also have Matt Forte and Martellus Bennett rounding out their offensive skill players, a solid group. The team has also had a visit with free agent receiver Brian Hartline in recent days.
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