The Miami Dolphins made a significant move to bolster the team’s anemic passing game by trading for troubled wide receiver Brandon Marshall. In exchange, Miami sends their second round pick in the upcoming rookie draft and a 2011 second round pick to the Denver Broncos.
The acquisition of Marshall immediately upgrades the Dolphins offense and gives third-year quarterback Chad Henne a true number one receiver, something the team has lacked in recent seasons. Although Marshall doesn’t possess outstanding deep speed, he has shown the ability to get past defenders and has excellent ability after the catch due to his size.
The team’s passing attack finished 20th overall in 2009, averaging just under 200 yards per game. Opposing defenses weren’t required to double team any of the team’s receivers last season and Marshall’s presence should benefit whoever lines up opposite him in the starting line-up.
The move comes on the heels of the New York Jets acquisition of wide receiver Santonio Holmes from the Pittsburgh Steelers, and could be regarded as the Dolphins response to keep pace with an aggressive Jets front office.
Reports indicate that Marshall subsequently signed a four-year contract extension that will make him the highest paid wide receiver in the league.
In Marshall the Dolphins are getting an enigmatic player but one who has excelled on the field despite accumulating a lengthy list of off the field discretions that have landed him in trouble with the law, the league, his teammates and Broncos management. They are taking a risk on a player whose next transgression will likely result on a one-year suspension from the league.
Suffice it to say, there will be mixed feelings in Denver regarding his departure.
From a fantasy perspective, there is a clear winner and a clear loser with this trade and they are the respective quarterbacks on each team. Henne comes out on top as he acquires a player who recorded over 100 catches and 1,000 yards in each of the last three seasons.
Simply put, Marshall is head and shoulders above any receiver the team had last season. Henne was the 25th ranked quarterback in my initial rankings but he moves up to 19th overall and is a decent option in dynasty leagues.
In Denver, Marshall was a lock for 100 receptions, 1,100 plus yards and seven to ten touchdowns and was my fifth ranked wide receiver. However, the Dolphins have an outstanding running attack and are not going to change the team’s offensive identity to accommodate Marshall.
In Miami, he is unlikely to top 100 receptions although he may get more shots down the field due to the dual threat at running back in Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams. Although I previously commented that he wouldn’t fall out of the top ten wherever he landed, I have moved him down to 12th overall.
Look for Miami to move Davone Bess to the slot with Greg Camarillo and Brian Hartline battling for the starting spot opposite Marshall. Bess figures to see a huge drop in production in the slot but my previous ranking of 53rd assumed he was destined for the slot anyway so his prognosis doesn’t change much.
None of the three players is worth owning except in deep leagues.
The Dolphins subsequently traded Ted Ginn Jr. to the San Francisco 49ers for a 5th round draft pick.
Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton gets the short end of the stick as he loses his top target and now has a receiver depth chart consisting of Eddie Royal, Jabar Gaffney, Brandon Stokley and Brandon Lloyd. He drops down to 25th in the quarterback rankings.
Of the four receivers, only Royal is considered a talented player and he is coming off a hugely disappointing second season with 37 receptions for 345 yards and no touchdowns. That came on the heels of an outstanding rookie campaign in 2009 when he finished with 91 receptions for 980 yards and five touchdowns.
Royal moves up to 33rd in the wide receiver rankings from 57th previously but is currently a high risk, high reward option. If the Broncos fail to take a receiver in the first or second rounds of the draft, he becomes a more intriguing option.
The team now has three selections in the first two rounds of the draft and will likely use one of those selections on a wide receiver. If that transpires, whoever they select figures to have some potential in dynasty leagues.