Daily Archives: June 16, 2009

All Brandons are not created equal

Could it be happening again in Denver? Reports surfaced this week that hypertalented (if sometimes troubling) Broncos WR Brandon Marshall, who missed part of but not all of the team’s mandatory minicamp last weekend, has asked owner Pat Bowlen for a trade. Marshall is looking for a new deal, so he could still be mollified, but you have to wonder if new head coach Josh McDaniels’ harsh handling of QB Jay Cutler is another motivating factor for Marshall. Maybe he doesn’t like how McDaniels is reflecting Bill Belichick’s shadow side. Or maybe he’s emboldened because McDaniels ultimately let Cutler talk his way out of town.

The Broncos can’t afford to lose Marshall. While he hasn’t been a good citizen often enough, he’s a talent, and that’s a commodity in short supply right now in Denver. With Cutler gone and TE Tony Scheffler also rumored to be leaving, new QB Kyle Ortom won’t have enough options. Eddie Royal is good, but he’s a complement, not a No. 1 target. The Broncos need to find a way to keep Marshall happy enough that he’ll stay around.

In what certainly appears to be a related move, Denver signed journeyman WR Brandon Lloyd. Lloyd has talent, but he’s bounced from Washington to San Francisco to Chicago and now to Denver without putting it all together. He was a decent target for Orton with the Bears last year, which is a plus, and his size would be a good contrast to Eddie Royal were Brandon Marshall to be unavailable. If the Broncos have designs on Lloyd replacing Marshall, they’ll quickly and painfully discover that not all Brandons are created equal.

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Filed under Football Relativity, NFL Free Agency, NFL trades

Ellis goes the Raider way and Rex is their (backup) quarterback

Two interesting signings  that we wanted to note. Ex-Cowboys DE Greg Ellis inked a three-year deal with the Raiders, while former Bears starting quarterback Rex Grossman landed in Houston on a one-year deal to be a backup. Here are some thoughts; you’ll see them compared with other summer signings in a compiled post at the end of July.

Ellis spent 11 years in Dallas before being released this offseason. He had been unhappy about his role and/or his contract for several years, and he did seem miscast as a 3-4 outside linebacker, even though he had one really good season in that role. He lands in Dallas where he will play in a more traditional 4-3. Ellis is big enough to be stout against the run in that role, and with 77 career sacks, he should bring some pass-rush presence too. His addition may allow the Raiders to trade Derrick Burgess (perhaps to New England), as has been rumored. In any case, Ellis will definitely find a role with the Raiders.

Grossman, who started a Super Bowl but was wildly inconsistent in Chicago, stayed on the free-agent market for a long time. He finally landed in Houston, where he looks to be a No. 3 quarterback behind starter Matt Schaub and Dan Orlovsky, who signed a multi-year deal to be the backup this offseason after the team dealt Sage Rosenfels. Grossman, who got a one-year deal at the minimum, has more experience than Orlovsky and probably more potential too, so don’t be surprised if he beats the ex-Lion out to back up Schaub. And with as many injuries as Schaub has traditionally had, winning the backup job would mean winning a few games to show his stuff again.

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Filed under Football Relativity, NFL Free Agency