Updated March 14, 2012 @ 2:59 a.m. ET
The Dolphins have traded WR Brandon Marshall to the Bears for a pair of third-round picks.
Marshall is reunited with Bears QB Jay Cutler; the two had been teammates from 2006-09 with the Broncos. Marshall played the past two seasons in Miami, totaling 167-2,228-9 in 30 games.
One of the third-round picks will be in this year's draft, and the other will be in 2013. The Bears own the ninth and 18th picks of the third round, with the first of the two selections having come by way of the Panthers, who dealt the pick to Chicago last August in exchange for TE Greg Olsen. It wasn't immediately clear which of the two 2012 third-round choices the Bears dealt away.
The way we see it
From a Dolphins perspective, it's possible that new head coach Joe Philbin wanted a different No. 1 receiver and could target one in free agency. There's also a Peyton Manning angle. Could the Dolphins have a chance at landing Manning and perhaps promised to sign Reggie Wayne, as well? We'll know more in the next couple of days, but as of now, Brian Hartline and Davone Bess are Miami's top receivers.
From the Bears' perspective, they are getting the No. 1 wide receiver they have lacked for so long, and they didn't have to gut themselves in terms of salary-cap space or draft picks to get him.
This is a strong first move by new GM Phil Emery, and it begins to close the talent gap between the Bears and the rival Packers and Lions in the NFC North.
Brandon Marshall is an elite receiver and can post No. 1 fantasy numbers without an elite QB. Last season he posted 167-2,228-9 on 288 targets in 30 games. That's an average of 5.6 catches for 77.3 yards and 0.3 TDs per game on 9.6 targets.
Although he did not have many TDs, in PPR (point-per-reception) leagues he was a clear No. 1 fantasy wideout. The trade reunites him with QB Jay Cutler, whom he played with in Denver. Considering the following results in previous play with Cutler, a return to elite status is not unrealistic.
- 2008: 104-1,265-6 on 181 targets
- 2007: 102-1,325-7 on 170 targets
Cutler never hesitated to look his way, even in tight coverage, and this is the big-play receiver that new offensive coordinator Mike Tice wanted. There's no doubt new GM Phil Emery has quickly endeared himself to both the fans and Cutler with this move. It also saves on the salary cap and allows the Bears to continue spending in free agency.
Marshall may be overvalued entering 2012, but there's no doubt he's now a No. 1 fantasy receiver, with the potential to get closer to elite status. But the chances of another 100-reception season are high. He's only been in the league six years and, at age 28, is still in his prime and has been injury-free most of his career, missing only five games in six seasons.