Brandon Marshall is on the loose.
Granted his release Friday by the rebuilding-from-scratch New York Jets, the veteran wideout is free to pick a new team. Marshall hopes to land with a contender, but who will come calling for the 32-year-old wideout?
Two years removed from a 1,500-yard campaign, Marshall struggled last season with a 46.1-percent catch rate and just 788 yards through the air, his second-lowest output since 2007. If Father Time is catching up with the talented wideout, last year's issues were also tied to a functionally broken Jets offense that cycled through quarterbacks and outscored only the lowly Browns and Rams.
We're throwing darts here, but Marshall's landing spots, for me, boil down to two types of teams: Clubs desperate for a proven wideout and playoff-level franchises with plenty of veteran leadership. As Marshall penned on Instagram: "I'm looking forward to finding a great organization where I can contribute & bring home a championship."
Let's try to find him a new home:
1. Baltimore Ravens: This checks all the boxes. The ultra-consistent Ravens are a perennial contender with a strong head coach and a reliable, veteran quarterback. With Steve Smith out the door, Marshall would fill the void for a receiving core still hoping for more from Breshad Perriman. This makes even more sense if Baltimore is tempted to part ways with Mike Wallace and his $8 million cap hit. Ravens writers see a potential match:
2. New York Giants: Victor Cruz is history, making the Giants another logical fit. Staying in New York would make plenty of sense and Marshall would give Eli Manning a big-bodied wideout who could help create chaos in the passing game as defenses pick their poison between the trusty veteran, Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard. This move would also allow Marshall to continue his Gotham-based television career. Let's not pretend that isn't a factor.
3. Philadelphia Eagles: The Eagles have eyes for Brandin Cooks, which would yank them off this list in a hurry. If they aren't willing to pay the price, though -- NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported the Saints want a first-round pick -- Philly looms as a candidate. People can pick on Carson Wentz's rookie season, but I see a phenomenal talent in the making and the kind of young quarterback Marshall would get on board with. The receiver would fit well in the rough-and-tumble NFC East and, again, would be close enough to New York to work his boob-tube side gig.
4. Tennessee Titans: Also exploring a trade for Cooks, Tennessee is prioritizing the wideout position. They need a big-framed target to win matchups for the ultra-promising Marcus Mariota. Like Wentz, Mariota will be viewed as a raging positive for any potential free agent looking to work with an exciting young quarterback. The Titans are a team on the rise, but the question is whether Marshall would be viewed as a fit by Tennessee's cunning front office.
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5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The positives start with quarterback Jameis Winston and a Bucs roster growing in power. Tampa Bay enters next season as a playoff contender, but it's hard to imagine the team dumping 34-year-old Vincent Jackson only to turn around and sign the 32-year-old Marshall. It's more likely the Bucs mine the draft to get younger at the position, but a Marshall-Mike Evans combo is juicy on paper.
6. Buffalo Bills: There's a link to the past here with Bills offensive coordinator Rick Dennison, who served as a Broncos' offensive assistant during the end of Marshall's stay in Denver. Is that a positive or a negative? We don't know, but Dennison certainly understands what Marshall can bring to the passing game. The Bills are low on this list, though, because of lingering quarterback questions and a brand-new coaching staff that might decide against adding Marshall to the mix in Year 1.
7. Arizona Cardinals: A shot in the dark, but coach Bruce Arians isn't afraid to test drive veteran players. After parting ways with Michael Floyd, the Cardinals have some use for Marshall. Future Hall of Fame wideout Larry Fitzgerald was marvelous again last season, but no other receiver on the roster topped 39 catches. A healthy John Brown will help, but the Cardinals need more help at this position if they want to chase glory during Carson Palmer's last hoorah.
8. Los Angeles Rams: We're venturing into dim territory. The Rams need all the help they can get at receiver, but pairing Marshall with Jared Goff feels like drama-in-the-making. Marshall would dig L.A., but he might be a better fit for the city's other newly arrived franchise, the Chargers.
NOTE: When Marshall predictably signs with a team not listed above, feel free to crumple up this article and shotgun it out a 53rd-story window onto the hideous streets below.