By Avery Lamphere
On March 3rd, 2017 Brandon Marshall was released by the New York Jets according to Sports Illustrated. Then just a day later Bleacher Report reported that there is mutual interest between Brandon Marshall and the New England Patriots. So on every radio show in Massachusetts that was the headline during the entire day on Friday. People took to two different sides. There was the side that Brandon Marshall has lots of off-field issues and is not worth the trouble and then there was the side that he is a good player that the Patriots should sign and would help the team immensely. One side, however, is right and the other is wrong. The Patriots should 100% go after Brandon Marshall because of his production, the change in his off the field behavior, his personal connection with Josh McDaniels, the fact they need help and the history of the Patriots signing veteran pro bowlers that help the team win. The first reason that the Patriots should sign Marshall is the fact that Brandon Marshall’s on the field talent is amazing. Just two seasons ago he set the New York Jets all-time record for most receptions and receiving yards. In the 2015 NFL season, he had 109 receptions and 1,502 receiving yards. Those numbers were very close to his career highs when he played for the Chicago Bears in 2012 when he had 118 receptions and 1,508 receiving yards. Last year in 2016 his numbers did fall to about half of what they were in 2015. However, if you look at the quarterbacks that were throwing to him you cannot fault Marshall. Ryan Fitzpatrick had the thirtieth ranked QBR last seasons and was an interception machine throwing 17 interceptions in 11 starts. While Bryce Petty the other Quarterback that played for the Jets was a rookie and had a worse rating than Fitzpatrick. Furthermore, Marshall was banged up all year. He had an MCL injury early in the year and was on the injury report the entire year. So, looking through Marshall’ career he averages 85 receptions and 1096 yards and 7 TD every single year. Randy Moss, who had a checkered past just as Marshall has, had an average of 70 receptions 1092 yards and 11 touchdowns per season in his career. So, Marshall’s numbers are somewhat comparable to Randy Moss. However, Randy Moss was still a far superior player because of his future Hall of Fame status to Marshall but Brandon Marshall can still contribute at a very high level. Now people will not want to take Brandon Marshall on because of his DUI charge and the numerous types of off the field issues that he has been involved in. To people that say that the off the field issues are a problem the Patriots signed Michael Floyd days after he got arrested for a DUI in Arizona. Marshall has not run into any problems with the law since 2012 and has been a model citizen. The NFL is all about giving people second chances and the Patriots should do exactly that with Brandon Marshall. Going back to the Randy Moss comparison, Moss had a very checkered past and had been arrested just like Marshall. He turned his life around however once he got to the NFL as Marshall has done in the past several years. He has even started thinking about charity. In a 2015 regular season game Marshall wore a pair of lime green cleats to signify Mental Health awareness week. He wore the cleats in a game and auctioned them off and gave the proceeds to charity. He was fined by the league and matched the fine as a donation for the same mental health charity. Brandon Marshall is a changed man and the Patriots would be fools not to sign him. Yet another reason the Patriots should sign him is because of his connection with Josh McDaniels. Josh McDaniels was the head coach of the Denver Broncos when Marshall first came into the league. Some of Marshall’s best years came with those Denver teams so McDaniels knows how to utilize Marshall and what his strengths and weaknesses are. Another reason that the Patriots should strongly consider Marshall is because their offensive weapons could use some upgrading. Gronkowski is probably the best Tight End to ever play the game. But he missed substantial time in college with injury and has missed lots of time in the NFL including this entire year. The Patriots cannot always count on Gronkowski being there late in the season. Malcolm Mitchell showed some promise this year with making some big time catches in big time games but he was in and out of the lineup due to injury and he is still a very young wide receiver. Julian Edelman will be thirty-one at the start of next season with another year of hits piled up on his body. There is also the fact the Martellus Bennett is testing the free agent market and is looking for a large contract which the Patriots cannot offer. The Patriots do need to give Tom Brady more help. And if Julian Edelman finds the fountain of youth and Gronk stays healthy the Patriots will have a very talented receiving core that we could see some numbers like the 2007 season. That is if they add Brandon Marshall. That was the last time that Brady had a big time down the field tall athletic Wide Receiver. So if the Patriots do not sign Brandon Marshall it will be a mistake. Belichick has had a history of bringing in veterans and getting the most out of them. Corey Dillon, Randy Moss, and Darrelle Revis are just to name a few. All of those signings were very successful so singing Marshall seems like a no brainer.