Fallout: Brandon Marshall is a Bear

This is shaping up as one of the wildest sports weeks in recent memory. We’ve got NFL free agency, the NBA trade deadline, March Madness and MLB spring training all going on at once. Let’s dig in.

HEADLINE STORIES:
1. Brandon Marshall traded to the Bears: On paper, it’s a dream move for Marshall and the Bears. He’s reunited with strong-armed QB Jay Cutler and will be an absolute target monster. When the two teamed up for 31 games between 2007 and 2008 in Denver, Marshall reeled in 206 catches for 2,590 yards and 13 touchdowns.

The bad news is that Marshall reportedly “slugged” a woman. Given his history, a multi-game suspension is certainly possible. It also could be why the Dolphins sold him for quarters on the dollar.

2. Vincent Jackson signs with the Bucs: We need to downgrade V-Jax. Josh Freeman has shown signs, but he’s checked down far too often and appeared tentative at times. That’s the opposite of Philip Rivers and it doesn’t fit V-Jax’s style. As for San Diego, Malcom Floyd, newly-signed Robert Meachem and Vincent Brown are going to be high-upside guys as the new starting wideouts.

3. Pierre Garcon signs with the Redskins: Garcon can certainly fly, but his hands are questionable and a lot of his best production came when Peyton Manning was around. Now he’ll be catching balls from Robert Griffin III. More name than game here.

Free agent slot machine Eddie Royal had his best season when current Redskins coach Mike Shanahan was in Denver. If he ends up signing with Washington, there will be upside in PPR formats. Royal caught 91 balls as a rookie in Denver.

4. Randy Moss signs with the 49ers: The last time we saw Moss in the NFL, he got dumped by three separate teams in one season. That’s special. It’s because his game could no longer compensate for his off-field drama. It’s a fine flier for the Niners to take a no-risk shot, but Moss will go way too high in fantasy drafts.

5. Warriors trade Monta Ellis, Ekpe Udoh to the Bucks for Andrew Bogut, Stephen Jackson: Bogut (ankle) is likely out for the year, so Andris Biedrins is back in as the Warriors’ starting center. Yawn. The real news is that Klay Thompson is getting a promotion to the starting shooting guard role and Jackson could push Dorell Wright out of the small forward gig. There’s upside with both. In Milwaukee, Mike Dunleavy and Carlos Delfino are on shaky ground now that Ellis is there gobbling up minutes and shots.

NBA PICKUPS OF THE WEEK
1. Nate Robinson, PG, Warriors: Stephen Curry (ankle) could be shut down for the year and Monta Ellis (see above) is gone. Robinson has explosive scoring ability. Klay Thompson is 1A add, as mentioned above.

2. Jerryd Bayless, G, Raptors: Jose Calderon’s ankle injury could linger and/or the Raptors could make a move. Bayless averages 15.4 points, 4.1 assists and 2.0 3-pointers as a starter.

3. Goran Dragic, PG, Rockets: Kyle Lowry (bacterial infection) is out 2-4 weeks, leaving Dragic as the man. He has starting-caliber talent and has shown it off whenever given the opportunity.

MLB CONTRACT-YEAR PLAYERS
We’ve seen it over and over again. Baseball players know they are in the final year of their contract and absolutely go off. Coincidence? I think not.

1. Michael Bourn, OF, Braves: Scott Boras is his agent, meaning he knows there’s a jackpot at the end of a big season.

2. Andre Ethier, OF, Dodgers: The knee issues appear to be behind him and he’s coming off a career-worst season. Now aiming for a new contract, a bounce-back year is a great bet.

3. Miguel Montero, C, Diamondbacks: Playing in a hitter’s park certainly helps. The team announced that they have tabled extension talks until after the season, essentially making Montero “prove it.” He will.


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