The Chicago Bears appear to be through fooling around. As stout as the talent has looked on their roster the past few years, it hasn’t accumulated to much success and now has the new regime shopping stud wide receiver, Brandon Marshall. Per the Chicago Tribune, Marshall is no longer seen as Chicago’s go-to wide receiver and could be had for as little as a mid-round draft pick.
Marshall, soon to be 31 years old, had his worst year since becoming a full-time starter in 2014. It’s worth arguing that most of his struggles were attributed to numerous injuries, but his inability to stay healthy isn’t necessarily a selling point in him remaining an elite option, either. Thoughts of a Marshall departure upsetting quarterback Jay Cutler probably aren’t warranted, either, considering the Bears haven’t even been publicly supportive of him.
Marshall trade rumors are now heating up with free agency arriving next Tuesday, as well as Marshall’s 2015 salary becoming guaranteed on the 12th. Chicago naturally would like to move fast before that salary hits the books, as well as before any teams needing wide receiver help can address their holes in free agency.
While Marshall is aging and may be in mild decline, he has never completely relied on speed or explosiveness, giving him a chance to remain an elite red-zone target and solid chain mover, ala San Francisco’s Anquan Boldin. Marshall would carry a hefty $7.5 million hit to anyone who trades for him, but at full health, he could still be an elite option for another 2-3 seasons.
Fantasy Insight: Marshall probably won’t have much better fantasy value anywhere else than he’s had during his career with Cutler throwing him passes, but depending on the situation he could still possibly retain borderline WR1 value. It’s Alshon Jeffery that will be the real winner either way, though, as he appears locked in as the Bears’ top offensive weapon through the air. He should be viewed as a top-10 wide receiver heading into the 2015 fantasy football season.