In 2015, the New York Jets traded for wide receiver Brandon Marshall, who was coming off a down year by his standards with just 721 yards and eight touchdowns. Being teamed with wideout Eric Decker last year, the dynamic duo exploited secondaries and abused cornerbacks left and right.
Come 2016, however, with Decker suiting up for just three regular season games, and a steep decline in quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick’s game, Marshall’s play took a substantial hit. He finished this season with 714 fewer receiving yards than he had a season ago and caught only three touchdown passes.
Moving on to 2017, with quarterback being the biggest question on the Jets roster, is the $7.5 million he will be making this year not enough? Looking at the wide receiver salaries, Marshall is right in the mix with guys like Antonio Brown ($8 million), DeSean Jackson ($8 million), Michael Crabtree ($8.5 million), and Jordy Nelson ($9.5 million) in regards to average yearly salary.
In 2016, I would have taken all of the names above over Marshall. I know he probably had the worst situation and the worst quarterback(s) throwing to him, but Marshall utterly underperformed in 2016. While the stats he put up in 2015, coupled with his yearly salary for the season ($9 million) was perhaps a bargain for the Jets, this season was a different story.
Since the Jets paid all of Marshall’s guaranteed money in his first two years, the Jets could cut Marshall and not owe him a dime. Earlier this month Marshall acknowledged that he would take a pay cut to stay with the Jets, according to the New York Daily News. That being said, will Marshall actually pull through with his words?
If the Jets could hang onto Marshall for $5 million a year, they would have to keep him around right? Quincy Enunwa could be an option for #1 receiver moving forward, but I see the Jets offense benefiting the most with him as a #2 option. Eric Decker was the #1 wideout in 2014, and that didn’t pan out very well.
Young speedster Robby Anderson emerged at times in the latter portions of the year but he can’t be called up to be a #2 option; he’s most efficient in the slot for now. Keeping Marshall at what he’s due now isn’t an ideal scenario for the Jets. Though he was a headache in the locker room this season and didn’t get along with everybody (i.e. Sheldon Richardson), the Jets would lack experience and skill at the wide receiver position if they decide to let him walk this year.
It’s not the prettiest of plots, but the Jets should take all the help they can get and receiver, and if it means keeping Marshall for another year then so be it.