So last night, this happened:
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 3, 2017
Immediately following the announcement of Marshall’s release, Ravens fans went absolutely bonkers on social media, clamoring for the 32-year-old former Bronco/Fin/Bear/Jet to join the Ravens. I won’t screen shot anybody’s tweets here, but I’ll summarize them in one fake tweet:
Here’s the thing guys… while I think B-Marsh would be an upgrade for the Ravens offense? It’s not going to happen. Nor should it happen.
First and foremost, as a fanbase, we need to decide what we actually want.
On nearly a daily basis, Ravens fans are pummeling Ozzie Newsome & Co. for constantly signing veteran wide receivers over the age of 30, giving both Joe Flacco and fans but a mere glimpse of their potential, instead of a longer tenured relationship for the QB/WR tandem to grow, not unlike Flacco and TE Dennis Pitta have over the years.
So which is it guys and gals? Do we want to lambaste the Ravens for signing old wideouts beyond their prime? Or do we want them to keep doing it?
Can’t have it both ways!
Then there’s the fact that Marshall is going to command a hefty chunk of change in the free agent market.
Let’s face it. There are plenty of teams in the NFL in need of help in their receiver corps, so even a soon-to-be 33 year old vet like Marshall is going to get paid handsomely.
With hefty needs in the secondary, pass rush, inside linebackers and offensive line, how much coin should the Ravens be shoveling out to one, past-prime wideout? And even if you want to justify that allocation of funds, wouldn’t you rather have a younger player with a higher chance to stick around with the team beyond a few seasons?
Just name dropping here, but Pierre Garcon (31), DeSean Jackson (30), Terrelle Pryor (28), and Alshon Jeffery (27) are all likely to sign checks in a similar range to the one Marshall does, and provide potentially longer-term options based on age. Or if the Ravens felt so obliged to go with more cost effective yet riskier options with high ceilings, Josh Gordon (27) is likely to be available, as is the 2016 slot terrorizing, breakout stud that I’d like to see targeted for a relatively reasonable deal, Adam Thielen (27).
Unfortunately, I believe fans still see an eight-time Pro Bowler in Marshall who is worth whatever it takes for the Ravens sign him.
While he likely will still show flashes of that greatness, that’s not who he was last season with the Jets, nor is there any assurance he’ll return to form at this point in his career. After a 1,500 yard season with 14 TD’s in 2015, Marshall’s yards dropped to 788, and his three touchdowns were his fewest since 2010 with the Dolphins.
Yes, we can argue all day about the lackluster quarterback play in New York attributing to Marshall’s dip in production. One can also point to Marshall’s production falling off due to the absence of Eric Decker.
Those are actually very valid arguments.
Anyone who thinks Brandon Marshall is washed up isn't paying attention. Still highly difficult to guard last year w/out Decker & a steady QB
— Dev Panchwagh (@devpanchwagh) March 3, 2017
See? You know it’s a valid argument because Dev made it and the man knows his stuff!
But my counter is simple: do the Ravens have an Decker on this roster? Do they have another threat to demand the attention Decker did? Surely Breshad Perriman isn’t demanding that focus. Maybe Mike Wallace? But not in the same capacity as Decker. Instead, just as Marshall dealt with last season, teams simply focus their efforts on keeping him in check, thus likely resulting in similar production to his 2016 season.
On the QB side of the debate, correct me if I’m wrong, but haven’t many fans around Baltimore started to consider Joe’s play under center to be fringing on lackluster as well? And that was before the potential for two new voids on the Offensive Line (Free agent RT Rick Wagner, potential cut C Jeremy Zuttah). We can also look back to the State of the Ravens address when the team claimed they need to commit more the run game which, if that’s the case, why take a big hit of the cap space on a 33-year-old wide receiver?
All in all, I like Marshall as a player and he still has a few solid years left in him.
But ultimately, adding a high priced 33-year-old wideout simply doesn’t fit the mold for the 2017 plan and beyond.
Just go get Mike Williams and call it a day (he says sarcastically knowing Williams’ll be gone far before the 16th pick).