The Denver Broncos haven't been attempting to deal disgruntled wide receiver Brandon Marshall, according to league sources, and have received very little contact from other teams inquiring about the currently suspended Pro Bowler.
The New York Jets have called the Broncos to explore the situation, according to a source with knowledge of the situation, but Denver has no intention of dealing Marshall right now -- a stance that first-year coach Josh McDaniels confirmed Wednesday.
"We're looking forward to having Brandon back on Sept. 6 and starting our preparations for (the season opener at) Cincinnati with him," McDaniels said, according to The Associated Press. "There's no discussions whatsoever taking place between the Denver Broncos and any team in the NFL regarding Brandon Marshall."
And it could be very difficult to agree on any trade of Marshall for multiple reasons. He has one year left on his contract and wants to be traded, but the Broncos already have endured a difficult offseason and preseason. The team is trying to do whatever it can to be as good as possible in 2009 -- already a crucial year for the embattled McDaniels -- and the prospect of 2010 draft picks isn't something very palatable to them.
Officials with three teams that could use a wide receiver all said they hadn't received a call from Denver regarding Marshall, and several sources who have had contact with Broncos general manager Brian Xanders recently said he never once mentioned the wide receiver being available.
Marshall would covet a change of scenery and a chance to sign a lucrative new contract as he is due to make just $2.2 million this season after posting back-to-back 100-catch seasons. However, his value around the NFL is low, given his hip injuries, clashes with team officials (he also has been suspended in the past), recent lack of time on the practice field, a past run-in with law enforcement and his desire for big money.
The Broncos remain optimistic that Marshall might display a better attitude and determination to play when he reports back to the team on Sept. 6 after his suspension for the final two preseason games for outlandish antics at a practice is over. Marshall and the Broncos have been unable to rebuild the trust between them and have disagreed about issues ranging from the wide receiver's health to the actions of the team's public-relations staff, and a long-term marriage remains difficult to imagine. And, undoubtedtly, getting to a big-market team such as the Jets would be appealing to Marshall.
However, the Broncos have the leverage in this situation. They aren't inclined to deal Marshall with his value so low, a source said, and are doing nothing to posit the idea that he could be traded. In fact, they believe that any team being overt about its interest in Marshall risks violating tampering rules and they want to do whatever is possible to get Marshall to concentrate on being productive in Denver rather than dwelling on possible trades (and thus mulling exit strategies).
The Broncos believe that if Marshall returns from his suspension focused, he could be productive right away. Given the fact that franchise quarterback Jay Cutler already was traded in the offseason, the team's top two current quarterbacks are hurt and top draft pick Knowshon Moreno has missed virtually the entire preseason because of a holdout and an injury (he was the projected starting running back), the Broncos immediately need all the help they can get.
Marshall's best chance at getting more money, regardless of the team, is through production on the field and staying out of trouble off of it. The Broncos would love to get off to a fast start, if possible, given all the acrimony and angst over their offseason. The AFC West is perhaps the worst division in football, and Denver is trying to fortify any chance it has of being competitive right now. Landing a mid-round 2010 draft pick (what several executives project to be what an interested party would offer for Marshall) wouldn't help at all in that regard.
Should a team ultimately step up and make an overwhelming offer, well, it's pro sports, so you never say never. The Broncos might end up having to suspend Marshall again. Maybe they get off to a slow start and it becomes best to ship him out before the trade deadline. We're not there yet, though, with everybody 0-0 and the team eager to see if Marshall has learned from this latest experience.
The Broncos haven't been sending any such signals yet, though, and only one team has called about Marshall.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.