The New York Jets plan to release wide receiver Brandon Marshall. That instantly caught the attention of Bengals fans. Would the 32-year-old wide receiver be a good fit in Cincinnati?
The Bengals could use an outside wide receiver with Marshall’s skillset. He’s big, physical and able to make contested catches. He would give Andy Dalton another red zone weapon. He had 109 receptions for 1,502 yards and 14 touchdowns for the Jets in 2015. His numbers took a huge hit in 2016. He finished with 59 receptions for 788 yards and three touchdowns. The Jets had an awful season and quarterback play really hampered the team including Marshall.
Is Marshall an upgrade? Brandon LaFell averaged more yards-per-catch last season, plus he had more receptions and yards. Despite the numbers favoring LaFell, I think most of us (including the Bengals) know Marshall is the better player.
I would be excited to see Marshall join an offense that already includes A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert. I don’t think it will happen. This isn’t the first time Marshall has been available when the Bengals had a need at wide receiver. They considered trading for him in 2010 according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Ultimately, Marshall was traded to the Miami Dolphins. Since then, he’s been traded to Chicago and to New York. If the Bengals wanted Marshall, I’d imagine they would’ve traded for him.
Timing is everything. Maybe the Bengals decide that Marshall is worth it. Maybe they have a change of heart. It wouldn’t be the first time they decided to sign a veteran after passing on him years before. Linebacker Karlos Dansby is a prime example of this. They brought Dansby in for a visit in 2013, but opted not to sign him. Ultimately, Dansby ended up in Cincinnati last season.
Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis has discussed veteran wide receivers before. He believes younger is better. Lewis discussed this in 2013.
"You are not a positive in making your team better when you keep adding old guys,” Lewis told Cincinnati.com. “What did Randy Moss do for those guys last year? He did nothing. He got in the way of a younger player performing."
I expect the Bengals to draft a wide receiver early on in the 2017 NFL Draft. I discuss some of the prospects they could look at here.
The Bengals are loyal. LaFell wants to return to Cincinnati. The Bengals want him back. The 2017 wide receiving core will likely consist of Green, LaFell Tyler Boyd, Cody Core, Alex Erickson and a rookie.
Anything is possible. Maybe Lafell signs with another team. The Bengals may decide that it’s worth bringing in Marshall because they won’t have to give anything up to get him. I doubt that’s the case, but it could be.
Fans that are begging for Marshall are probably going to be disappointed. If you really want to see Marshall in stripes, then you should probably trade for him in Madden.
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