In 2016, the New York Giants uncharacteristically spent nearly $200 million in free agency. The results of opening up the piggy bank were immediately seen on the field. Big Blue finished with an 11-win season, the first playoff appearance in five years, and six players named All-Pro.
The Giants don’t have the money to spend in ’17 that they had in ’16. It didn’t stop them from making headlines with their first free agent signing: wide receiver Brandon Marshall.
He posted a picture of his signed contract on Twitter:
— Brandon Marshall (@BMarshall) March 8, 2017
Marshall, who turns 33 on Mar. 23, was released by the New York Jets last week. His Giants deal is two years at $12 million. This means that Marshall doesn’t have to move his family and he can continue his offseason job without a hitch. He’s an analyst for Showtime’s “Inside the NFL”.
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On the field, Marshall provides a big-bodied (6-foot-4, 230 pounds) target the Giants have been sorely missing since Plaxico Burress. The immediate beneficiary of Marshall’s presence will be Odell Beckham, Jr. Beckham will not see many double teams when opposing defenses have to worry about Marshall as well as Sterling Shepard.
Marshall’s signing means the Giants are (in the words of former head coach Jim Fassel) “pushing their chips to the center of the table”. They want (and need) to win right now. Eli Manning is 36 and his window is closing. The Giants’ offense was a top-5 squad when the defense struggled. As the defense took steps toward domination, the offense took a few steps back.
In 2015, the Giants averaged more than 26 points a game. Last season, they only averaged 19.4, finishing near the bottom.
The Giants will be Marshall’s fifth team. Marshall was a fourth-round draft pick out of Central Florida in 2006. He spent his first four NFL seasons with the Broncos. Marshall also played for the Miami Dolphins (2010-11), Chicago Bears (2012-14) and the Jets (2015-16).
Marshall ‘s talent is without question: 941 career receptions for 12,061 yards and 82 touchdowns. He ranks third among active players in receiving yards, owns the NFL record for most receptions in a single game (21), and owns both Bears and Jets all-time receiving records for most receptions and yards per season.
Despite his prodigious ability as a wide receiver, Marshall has never been to the postseason.
He has been a somewhat polarizing player. Players with his skill level usually don’t have a handful of teams on their resume. He has been known to speak his mind, especially when things aren’t going so well. Ben McAdoo and the coaching staff should monitor Marshall closely to make sure he’s still engaged as the season goes on.
Marshall replaced his Instagram avatar with a picture of the Giants holding the Lombardi Trophy. He knows why is joining the Giants and what the ultimate goal is. Marshall’s legacy is on the line as well. He has all of the individual accolades but has never tasted team success.
The New York Football Giants are better today than they were yesterday because of Brandon Marshall.