Brandon Marshall is not a locker room cancer and his attitude had nothing to do with the March trade that sent him from the Chicago Bears to the New York Jets, so says a team source with the NFC team.
It has long been rumored that Marshall, acquired by the Jets on March 10, was ousted by the Bears in large part because he was a distraction on their roster. The 31-year old wide receiver has had issues in previous stops, namely with the Miami Dolphins, but he wasn't a malcontent or even a discontent in Chicago.
A source on the Bears, speaking on the condition of anonymity, tells Metro New York that Marshall was not shipped off the to the land of the green and white because of any character concerns. Rather, the source said, “it was money, pure money.
“The trade was contract driven, freeing up salary cap space. He was on a big contract here,” the source tells Metro New York. “It had nothing to do with him being this locker room issue or this villain. In fact, there were no issues like that that drove him out of here. It was all about the cap hit.”
Last year, Marshall was hampered by injuries with the Bears but still had 61 receptions for 721 yards and eight touchdowns in 13 games. No one on the Jets had more than five touchdowns in 2014. If he's healthy, he can change a passing offense for the Jets that last year was among the worst in the NFL. Suddenly, he partners with fellow wide receivers Eric Decker and Jeremy Kerley along with second-year tight end Jace Amaro to provide some legitimate targets.
In seven of the last eight seasons, Marshall has topped 1,000 receiving yards in a season, the only exception being 2014.
In October, Marshall reportedly was at the center of a locker room tirade and pundits noticed his visible on the field demeanor during the team's rough patch last fall, which many of them said was to look of a jaded superstar who was disappointing and disconnected last season. Couple that with the poor reputation earned from his time in Miami and the connection was made that Marshall was a diva and had an attitude problem.
Not so says the member of Bears management, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he is not allowed to publicly comment on personnel matters.
“There wasn't an issue with what Brandon said last year. Not at all. Those things happen in an NFL locker room, the older guys speak up and let their voices be heard. Brandon has earned that right,” the source said. “He's been a pro here. Again, it wasn't about the money, that's headlines and radio people talking and speculating. The trade with the Jets wasn't about that.
“To my knowledge he wasn't an issue here at all last year. I never heard a complaint. We had to move his contract for cap space and he had value.”