New York Giants: Was Signing Brandon Marshall the Right Move?

Nov 6, 2016; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) looks on before the game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 6, 2016; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) looks on before the game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

The New York Giants signed former New York Jets’ wide receiver Brandon Marshall on Wednesday. Considering the current state of the team, was this the right move to make?

After inking Brandon Marshall to a two-year/$12 million contract, the New York Giants appear to have their No. 2 WR for the 2017 season. Following the departure of Victor Cruz, the front office felt it was necessary to bring aboard a veteran replacement to play alongside Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard. However, was bolstering the wide receiving corps at the start of free agency in the Giants’ best interests?

Marshall did not demand a monster contract, settling for $6 million per year. After using the franchise tag on Jason Pierre-Paul for $17 million, the Giants had approximately $11 million left for salary cap space for 2017. After signing Marshall, this number is almost cut in half. In other words, until they restructure additional contracts or cut players, the Giants have roughly $5 million to address their other needs through free agency.

Specifically, the Giants are weak on the offensive line, tight end, running back and linebacker positions. As of now, $5 million and draft picks is not be enough to fix the problems from last year to transform the team into a serious Super Bowl contender. With talk about the Giants restructuring or releasing Dwayne Harris, another $3-4 million can be saved. Still, it will not be enough unless the Giants hit home runs in the draft, which is very unlikely.

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From a production standpoint, was Marshall worth $6 million? He said he took lesser money to join the Giants, but we also have to consider his performance and age before validating his statements. He will be 33 years old for next season, and older receivers don’t tend to perform well in today’s pass-heavy league (with the notable exception of Larry Fitzgerald).

In 2016, Marshall did not exactly light up the league. He played 15 games and registered only 59 receptions for 788 yards and 3 touchdowns. This is a big dropoff from his career year in 2015 when he had 109 receptions for 1,502 yards and 14 touchdowns. Although the Jets’ quarterbacks were not as good as Eli Manning, his decline is still something to consider. And let’s not forget that Marshall is prone to drops and makes occasional mistakes.

Could they have gotten a solid secondary receiver in the mid to late rounds of the draft? It’s possible. The Giants might not have been confident enough in Roger Lewis Jr., Tavarres King, and Dwayne Harris as WRs and felt compelled to add a veteran. As long as Marshall does not clash with Beckham or any other teammates like he did with Sheldon Richardson last year, he will be a positive addition.

But the receivers were not the problem last year. Despite the drops in the Wild Card Game against Green Bay, the biggest problems on the offense remain the offensive line and running backs. With limited money to spend in free agency, the quality of talent available will take a hit.

If I were the general manager, I would have pursued players such as T.J. Lang, Andrew Whitworth, and Jamaal Charles before committing more money to the WR position. With the draft picks, I would chase a tight end, more offensive depth, and 1-2 linebackers.

Fans hope that coach Ben McAdoo will smartly utilize the attributes of Brandon Marshall to improve red zone efficiency. His 6’4″ frame will be a big help in that area, but only if McAdoo’s play calls are creative and not predictable.

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The Brandon Marshall signing wasn’t the worst decision the Giants made, but it ignored many other deficiencies for the time being. Unless Jerry Reese finds a way to improve those glaring areas, the Giants will not be contending for a Super Bowl in 2017.