Carolina Panthers: Could Brandon Marshall be an option?


As we’re in the midst of the NFL combine, everyone is scrambling to figure out who their team needs to draft. We all want to find the next big thing out of college, but let’s not forget about free agency.

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The Carolina Panthers are sure to be calling the agents of the many wide receivers that will be looking for a new team.

This happens to be a good year for teams that are in need of pass-catchers, as both the free agent and draft classes are expected to be very deep. The free agent crop could be stacked even more if a few veteran receivers that are expected to be asked to take pay cuts refuse to do so.

Of those few receivers is current Chicago Bear, Brandon Marshall.

The Bears are currently going through a significant amount of change as they look to restore the winning ways of one of the NFL’s most storied franchises. Marc Trestman has been fired and replaced by former Broncos (and Panthers) head coach, John Fox, and a few other coaching staff changes have been made as well.

The roster is also expected to be shuffled, highlighted by the questioning of whether Jay Cutler should be the franchise quarterback moving forward.

Among those roster moves is the speculation that Brandon Marshall may be waived if he doesn’t agree to a pay cut. The 30 year old is set to make $7.7 million in 2015, but cutting him would save the Bears $3.95 million towards the cap.

Chicago won’t be pressed for cap space, but if they’re looking to return to form, they may not want that much money tied up in a guy that spent the majority of the 2014 season injured.

If Marshall is cut, there figures to be many teams willing and eager to sign him.

Panthers general manager, David Gettleman, has gone on record saying that Carolina will be pursuing more talented free agents than they did a season ago, and Brandon Marshall would certainly fit that profile.

Marshall has been considered one of the league’s best receivers for quite a few years now, particularly since signing with Chicago.

During the 2012 and 2013 seasons, Marshall pulled in 218 passes for 2,803 yards and 23 touchdowns.

He didn’t produce that way this past season, but that can largely be attributed to injuries and the team just being dysfunctional overall. He can certainly return to his Pro Bowl form for a few more years.

If the Carolina Panthers could land Marshall, that would provide a huge surge to this sub-par offense. He would be particularly beneficial because of his height – 6’4″ – since Cam Newton has a tendency to over-throw his receivers.

He would also be a perfect fit with the offense that’s in place in Carolina. The Panthers utilize a power running scheme, but they like to throw the deep ball.

This past season, undrafted rookie free agent, Philly Brown, was the only receiver they had that could go deep. Saying Brandon Marshall would be an upgrade there is quite the understatement (no offense, Philly), and would instantly make this offense a legitimate threat.

This would give the Panthers their first two-receiver threat since the days of Steve Smith and Muhsin Muhammad – and fans in Carolina certainly remember how dangerous they were.

There’s a lot that needs to be answered before we can really break this down in terms of numbers (particularly since we don’t even know what the salary cap will actually be), so for now, we’ll just look at it from a football perspective.

If the Carolina Panthers could land a big-time talent like Brandon Marshall to go alongside Kelvin Benjamin, they just might be one of the NFL’s most dangerous teams in 2015.

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