There were no Chiefs in tonight’s Pro Bowl game, but of the four Broncos participating, it was likely the last in a Denver helmet for Brandon Marshall, according to the Denver Post.
Unquestionably the most physically gifted receiver to ever wear the orange and blue uniform, Marshall’s four seasons in Denver were marked with just about everything except doubt regarding his imminent departure.
“I’ll put it like this: The way things have gone, I’d be surprised if he’s back,” Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey said. “I’ve seen it happen to the best of the best and the worst of the worst.”
Marshall declined comment during Pro Bowl week, which means he may have said his final words as a Bronco. He will wear the team helmet while playing for the AFC in the Pro Bowl game tonight at Sun Life Stadium in Miami.
But the next time Marshall and the Broncos go to work for each other, their business is expected to appear on the transaction wire.
Rather than negotiate a multiyear contract with their No. 1 receiver of the past three seasons, the Broncos are expected to trade Marshall soon after the 2010 trading and free-agency season opens March 5.
“If Brandon leaves the division, the rest of us will be happy,” Oakland Raiders star cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha said. “He’s a great player.”
Because Marshall is a restricted free agent, the Broncos are expected to go through the exercise of tendering him a contract. But that tender will only serve as a mechanism to execute a deal with another club. Baltimore, Miami, Seattle, Chicago, Cleveland (how about Marshall for Brady Quinn?) and maybe the New York Jets are among the teams that may benefit most from acquiring a top-shelf receiver.
Marshall will keep playing football. It’s just that after today, it most likely won’t be while representing the Broncos. The team traded away Pro Bowl quarterback Jay Cutler last year. It won’t hesitate to deal its Pro Bowl receiver this year.
I’m with Asomugha here. We all love to hate Marshall, but there’s no doubt the Broncos offense will have trouble replacing someone that talented. A couple of days ago I was talking about the possibility that Quinn would reunite with Charlie Weis in Kansas City, but that is only if the Browns are forced to release him. The Chiefs won’t be able to compete with any offer from Denver that begins with Marshall, nor would Scott Pioli want to offer much value for a backup quarterback.
Marshall finished the season with 10 touchdowns in just 15 games. Those are numbers I’ll be more than happy to see leave the AFC West.