The Chicago Bears will probably be a very different team in 2015 after all the changes to their coaching staff and management, and that might include veteran wide receiver Brandon Marshall, who is already on the trading block, but can find himself being released before any deal is struck.
Marshall is signed through 2017, with his base salary rising from $7.5 million in 2015 to $8.3 million in 2017. Cutting him this season won’t save them too much – only $3.9 million in cap space, but the incentive to release him before his contract becomes guaranteed for the season grow, obviously, in 2016 and 2017.
Marshall did play with a rib injury for most of last season that also kept him out of three games, but he was beginning to decline even before that. Either way, he finished with just 721 receiving yards, the first time since his rookie season in 2006 that he finished with less than 1000 receiving yards.
Now, the inconsistency at quarterback and the offensive line for the Bears might be the main cause for his drop in production. In 2012 he made the first team All-Pro after catching 118 passes for 1508 yards and didn’t do too badly in 2013 with 100 receptions and 1295 yards. The Bears will be happy to get the same from him next season, but the question if the team, at its current state, can give him a situation he can thrive in.
Marshall is still a very good receiver and maybe when he’s healthy he’s still one of the best in the league at his position; he’s certainly been one of the best in the NFL over the last nine years, making five Pro Bowl games and one All-Pro teams.
But the Bears are going through upheaval right now which means a very good chance that anyone with connection to the previous years is expendable. If the Bears don’t get a good offer (third round pick), cutting him becomes a very possible option.