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The Bears Make A Big Trade For Brandon Marshall

Dolphins Trade Brandon Marshall To Chicago For 2 Draft Picks - My first thought was that this was an awful trade for the Chicago Bears.

They needed help at wide receiver, but once again they messed it up. Last season, they signed Roy Williams instead of anyone good, and this season they made a trade for Dolphins WR Brandon Marshall. But it looks better after you take a closer look.

That's not to avoid the major red flags. He's not cheap, he's entering the third year of a four-year $47.5 million contract, and the two third round picks it cost to acquire him doesn't make him free either. Just because he's got a history with Jay Cutler doesn't necessarily make it a good thing: Marshall was the 42nd best receiver in 2008, his final season in Denver with Cutler. Plus, he's "openly battling "borderline personality disorder" and has a reputation for being high maintenance." The Dolphins might consider his subtraction an addition in their chase for Peyton Manning.

But what makes this trade a good one is a couple things. The Bears badly needed a quality wide receiver, and while Marshall has some red flags on him, at least he is one. The Bears haven't had a 1000 yard receiver since 2002, and Marshall has gone for over 1000 yards in each of the past five seasons. Although Marshall and Cutler weren't as good as they seemed in 2008, Marshall was the 16th best WR last season according to Football Outsiders. He'll be a huge upgrade on the receivers they started last season. And at age 27, Marshall is just entering the prime of his career.

Only two wide receivers who were ranked higher last season by Football Outsiders are available in free agency. Cowboys WR Laurent Robinson was the 8th best WR, but his 858 yards and 11 touchdowns last season might have been a fluke. He'd bounced around from the Falcons, to the Rams, to the Cowboys in the previous three years, and he should be an injury risk going forward. The other one was Chargers WR Vincent Jackson, but he preferred the sun and money in Tampa.

The only other receiver who might have challenged Marshall in quality was Saints WR Robert Meachem. But he's never been a full-time starter, and his stats were probably inflated by playing in near perfect playing conditions (inside a dome and with Drew Brees). Marshall outperformed Meachem last season while catching passes from Matt Moore in Miami.

I could see this trade blowing up in the Bears face, but they had to make a move for a wide receiver and they probably couldn't have done better than Marshall.