The Seattle Seahawks have been searching for an elite wide receiver threat for years. They may have finally found their man in Brandon Marshall, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports.
Marshall, who turns 26 this month, is a restricted free agent and will cost the Seahawks one of their two first-round picks (No. 6 overall), in addition to a lucrative, long-term contract, The Seattle Times reports. He is expected to be in Seattle on Saturday, as the sides work to finalize an offer sheet.
The Denver Broncos will have the opportunity to match Marshall's deal with the Seahawks and retain him, but coach Josh McDaniels is unlikely to want him back because of Marshall's well-documented character issues.
Marshall, a fourth-round pick in 2006, has been among the NFL's top receivers in each of the past three seasons, catching at least 100 passes and totaling over 1,000 yards annually. He scored a career-high 10 touchdowns during the 2009 campaign, and also set an NFL record by hauling in 21 passes for 200 yards in a 28-16 loss to the Indianapolis Colts in Week 14.
According to The Denver Post, Marshall’s long history of off-the-field issues stems primarily from the murder of teammate Darrent Williams on Jan. 1, 2007. The young cornerback was fatally shot as a result of a reported altercation between Marshall's cousin and a group of gang members, and the receiver believes that he may have inadvertently escalated tensions between the groups as a result of his behavior at the nightclub. A change of scenery would likely be beneficial, as Marshall seeks some sort of closure to the tragedy.
However, Marshall has encountered numerous other run-ins with the law, including a drunk driving arrest in 2007, and several assault charges, the most recent stemming from an incident with his fiancée last March. Marshall was dealt a three-game suspension by the NFL for his legal troubles in 2008, although he appealed the decision and had the punishment reduced to just one game.
The Seahawks may be willing to overlook Marshall's checkered past in light of their long, yet fruitless search for a true No. 1 receiver. Despite handing a seven-year, $49 million deal to then-Minnesota Vikings restricted free agent Nate Burleson in 2006, trading away a first-round pick (No. 24 overall) to the Patriots for Deion Branch on Sept. 11, 2006, and signing T.J. Houshmandzadeh to a five-year, $40 million contract last spring, Seattle has yet to garner the desired results from their acquisitions.
Hence, if Marshall can stop the revolving door at the flanker spot and maintain his impact in Pete Carroll's offense, the huge price tag will seem more palatable to frustrated owner Paul Allen.
Allen — a co-founder of Microsoft — is among the wealthiest sports franchise owners in the world, and will have no trouble footing Marshall's bill in an uncapped year.