Giants bolster receiving corps with signing of determined Marshall
Brandon Marshall has signed a two-year, $12 million deal with the New York Giants. The Giants announced the deal on Wednesday, March 8 and Marshall tweeted a picture of the signed contract with the caption “Done Deal” moments later.
When asked about the decision to sign with the Giants, Marshall explained he was not in search of the most money, but rather the greatest opportunity to win his first championship. In his words, “It probably was the least amount of money. It was all about a championship. They presented the best opportunity to be in a championship organization.”
Marshall has been on four different teams including the Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, Miami Dolphins and the New York Jets. He has not made the playoffs with any of these teams despite an impressive personal stat sheet. The Jets released Marshall after a disappointing second season that followed a team record 1,502 receiving yards, 109 catches and 14 touchdowns in his first season in New York. After a nasty, drama-filled 2016-17 campaign with the Jets, Marshall refused an extension and looked to free agency for better opportunities.
When asked about his request to be released, Marshall said, “It was extremely hard, because we went into last year with high expectations and really believing that that was our moment, and the wheels fell off.” The Jets save $7.5 million in salary cap with his departure.
Marshall replaces long-time Giants’ favorite Victor Cruz in a strengthened receiving core consisting of superstar pass catcher Odell Beckham Jr. and sophomore sensation Sterling Shepard. Quarterback Eli Manning has expressed his excitement about the signing saying, “Odell over here, Brandon Marshall over there. That seems right.” Indeed, it is the first time that a true wide receiver lined up across Beckham, as the Giants traditionally shuffled slot receivers, including Cruz, at the edges.
Marshall has revealed plans to begin training with Manning in early April, explaining, “Eli is already on me about getting together in the beginning of April with a few of the other guys.”
On paper, Marshall’s signing creates defensive nightmares for opposing teams. Despite his age, Marshall is still a No.1 receiver who garners the attention of the opponent’s top cornerback. Having two top receivers on the field simultaneously in Marshall and Beckham is sure to generate mismatch opportunities and a serious deep threat. The signing of Marshall effectively eliminates the possibility of double-teaming Beckham, and now cautions defensive backs from loading the front lines.
The veteran receiver has also heaped praise on the Giants organization citing the team’s stability with ownership and management. The Mara family has owned the Giants since the team was founded in 1925 and the Giants’ general manager Jerry Reese has been involved with the Giants since 1994. Reese also articulated his enthusiasm for the deal when he said “Brandon is a big, talented wide receiver who we believe can still play at a very high level but, most of all, we believe he still has the hunger.”Marshall, who is turning 33 years old on March 23, said late last season that he hopes to play until he is 38 or 39.
“I have lot to prove. I have a chip on my shoulder. When you get to the plus side of 30, a lot of people say that you’re done,” Marshall said at the Giants training center. “I want to try to outwork everyone and do my best to be the best receiver I can be.” He was certain he has plenty of football in his future.
Staying in New York, Marshall will be able to continue his media career, where he was a weekly guest on popular shows as a member of the Jets and has agreed to join WFAN’s Mike Francesa according to Newsday’s Kimberley Martin.
The Giants continue to put together the missing pieces to become consistent playoff contenders. While Marshall’s signing certainly takes some pressure off Manning’s shoulders, there are still issues that the team must address. The theme of the last decade for Giants’ football has been a weak offensive line, yet little is being done to address the situation in free agency. Other key pieces include signing an equally capable pass-catching and blocking tight end, a consistent running back to fill Rashad Jennings’ role and resigning veteran Jason Pierre-Paul to anchor the defensive line.
In addition to resigning offensive lineman John Jerry and running back Orleans Darkwa, the team announced the signing of tight end Rhett Ellison of the Minnesota Vikings and offensive lineman D.J. Fluker from the San Diego Chargers.
Still, a major obstacle to filling the missing pieces is the Giants tight salary cap situation. Following last year’s high profile signings, the team entered this offseason with less than $15 million in salary cap space. This is a situation that the Giants must manage effectively, especially as Beckham’s rookie contract expiration looms.
Big Blue continues to fabricate a competitive roster with its sights set on being Superbowl competitors.