And we have our first "Whoa!" moment of the day. The Chicago Bears have acquired Brandon Marshall from the Miami Dolphins for a pair of third-round picks. The move reunites Marshall with his former Broncos running mate, Jay Cutler, and gives Chicago the consistent receiving threat its offense has lacked for years. For the Dolphins, who are currently trying to woo Peyton Manning, the move is puzzling at first ... but it may indicate future activity. What do you make of the trade from the perspective of both the Bears and Dolphins?
Miami's move has Manning written all over itLet's understand this: On Monday, there was a meeting between Peyton Manning and the Miami Dolphins. Then, all of the sudden, Brandon Marshall is gone the next day, for whatever reason. Last week, we were talking about the one potential hang-up in a Manning-to-Miami scenario: The question of whether Marshall could learn the offense. This is not a knock on him as a player, but there are a lot of things done at the line of scrimmage in this offense, and we've watched young guys struggle with Peyton before.
This trade reeks of Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark and Manning heading to Miami. The Tennessee Titans may have something to say about that with owner Bud Adams stepping up, but Tuesday's move by the Dolphins has Manning written all over it.
Miami is a very trendy place -- look at what the Heat and Marlins did. Dolphins owner Stephen Ross wants to make a splash. He did not make a splash with the head-coach hiring, but it's the players who put butts in the seats.
Dolphins try addition by subtraction to land Manning?Could this move by the Dolphins relate to their pursuit of Peyton Manning? Absoutely. Miami might believe Marshall is a potential headache that Manning doesn't need.
Regardless, the Dolphins may not be able to get Manning anyway. He hasn't shown much overt joy at the prospects of playing for them, and this move might have been a last-ditch effort to get his attention. Even if Miami adds Manning buddy Reggie Wayne in free agency, I'm still not convinced they get him.
One important item to note: The Dolphins won't really take a cap hit for this move due to the way Marshall's contract was structured.
Trade is a win for both Dolphins, BearsI like this trade. Ultimately, this could be a win for both teams.
In Chicago, Cutler gets a receiver he knows. Both he and offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates are familiar with Marshall from their days in Denver together. You have to believe both endorsed the move.
For Miami, this clears the way if they get Manning to bring in Reggie Wayne and maybe even Dallas Clark. Wayne gives you the possession receiver to replace Marshall and Clark would give Manning a comfortable security blanket.
Even if Miami doesn't land Manning, it has rid itself of a big contract and a troublesome player, while picking up two valuable draft choices in the process.
Dolphins look like they're rebuilding; Bears ticketed for Super Bowl?I don't think Miami is a serious player for Manning. I think Miami just wants to look like it tried. It looks to me like instead of reloading for this season, the Dolphins are going to rebuild instead. Good luck with Ryan Tannehill, who's ticketed for Miami now.
As far as Marshall goes, I actually like the move by the Dolphins. He's someone who you always have to motivate and hope stays out of trouble off the field. How long can you walk that tightrope before it gives way? I just hope Miami has a backup plan -- there are zero playmakers at receiver now. If Davone Bess is your fourth-best WR, you're in good shape. But when he's your best? Danger, Will Robinson.
For the Bears, it's about time they acquired a marquee wideout and stopped trying to prop up Devin Hester or Johnny Knox. This Denver reunion could mean everything. If the Bears get the motivated Marshall, they'll be in the Super Bowl this season. But that's a big if. Even if it goes bad, the price tag of two third-rounders isn't that big a deal to give up. It's a gutsy move, and I love guts.
Sweet reunion for Marshall, Cutler; Dolphins clearing the way for Peyton?For the Bears, it's simple: Marshall is the big target they've always wanted, so they pounced. They were able to get Muhsin Muhammad a few years ago, but that never really panned out, as Muhammad was past his prime and the Bears didn't have a quarterback to take advantage anyway. Marshall is a younger, better version of Muhammad who will jump at the chance to play with Jay Cutler again.
On the Miami side, my sense is the Dolphins are clearing out both salary space and a player who might not fit perfectly with the offense the team will be running (i.e. Peyton Manning's offense). Let's not forget that Marshall has been somewhat of a distraction in his short career. That said, that's a big hole Miami has at WR1 (barring an unforeseen move today).
Bears finally get a No. 1 WR; Dolphins out of running for ManningThe Bears have a big-time No. 1 receiver for the first time ... ever. (Depending on your feelings for Willie Gault.) More important than that, however, is Chicago no longer has a need for Vincent Jackson, so look for the Bears to pin their ears back and go all out for Mario Williams. Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford should probably start worrying right about now.
Christian Ponder should be worried, too, but for much different reasons.
The Dolphins' thinking is a little harder to decipher. Perhaps they are tired of hearing about how they just gave up on Wes Welker, so they wanted to add Marshall into the conversation. Removing Marshall removes a big incentive (or at least a target) for Peyton Manning. Could the team be looking at other options such as Brandon Lloyd, Laurent Robinson or Reggie Wayne? Regardless, you would have to believe the Dolphins are now out of the running for Manning and will instead look to bring in more options for a younger quarterback like Matt Flynn.
Clean slate for Philbin to begin Dolphins tenureThis trade seems to fit the needs of both teams, and maybe provides a clue about what Miami thinks of its chances in the Peyton Manning sweepstakes.
Chicago gets the No. 1 wideout that it desperately needs, while the Dolphins -- who must know Manning isn't heading their way -- give new head coach Joe Philbin a clean slate to begin his tenure.