Jay Cutler reconnected with top weapon Brandon Marshall
BY SEAN JENSEN firstname.lastname@example.org March 13, 2012 10:14PM
FILE - In tis Dec. 24, 2011 file photo, Miami Dolphins wide receiver Brandon Marshall (19) hauls in a touchdown pass against the defense of New England Patriots defensive back Kyle Arrington, behind, during the second quarter of an NFL football game at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. The Chicago Bears acquired Pro Bowl receiver Brandon Marshall from the Miami Dolphins on Tuesday, March 13, 2012, for two undisclosed draft picks. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Updated: April 15, 2012 8:16AM
Under general manager Jerry Angelo, the Bears fired and missed on a handful of traditional receivers, forcing a committee approach to the position.
Devin Hester and Johnny Knox reached the Pro Bowl, but as returners, not receivers. The Bears’ last 1,000-yard receiver was Marty Booker in 2002.
On Tuesday, new GM Phil Emery secured a No. 1 receiver — one who has topped 1,000 receiving yards in five consecutive seasons — by trading two third-round picks to the Miami Dolphins for three-time Pro Bowl receiver Brandon Marshall.
The move reunites quarterback Jay Cutler with Marshall, who had his two finest seasons with Cutler in Denver. In 2007 and 2008, Marshall caught 206 passes for 2,590 yards and 13 touchdowns. Cutler made his lone Pro Bowl appearance after the 2008 season.
‘‘I think he’s [going to] be a great weapon for Jay and our [offense],’’ Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher said. ‘‘It’s cool that he and Jay played together in Denver, so there is some familiarity.’’
Other Bears buzzed on Twitter:
† Running back Matt Forte: ‘‘Welcome home.’’
† Linebacker Lance Briggs, noting the Bears had re-signed cornerback Tim Jennings and traded for Marshall: ‘‘Today is a great day.’’
† Hester: ‘‘I’m so happy we got another Florida boy on the team!’’
Born in Pittsburgh, Marshall lived in Georgia and Florida and attended college at Central Florida.
Originally a fourth-round pick of the Broncos, Marshall asserted himself in his second season. In 2007, Jeremy Bates — the Bears’ new quarterbacks coach — was the Broncos’ receivers and quarterbacks coach. In 2008, he was the Broncos quarterbacks coach.
But like Cutler, Marshall apparently wasn’t thought of highly by Broncos coach Josh McDaniels. In April 2010, Marshall was traded to the Dolphins for two second-round picks and awarded a four-year, $47.5 million contract that included $24 million in guarantees.
Marshall has had some off-the- field incidents. He revealed in July 2011 that he was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder.
Asked by the Sun-Times last month about reuniting with Cutler, Marshall said, ‘‘Maybe down the road.’’ At the time, he showed great respect for then-Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore.
He noted, though, that ‘‘Jay is a special talent, and he’s a great friend.’’
The Bears inherit the remainder of Marshall’s deal, which is set to pay him $9.3 million in 2012, with an additional $200,000 workout bonus. His base salary in 2013 and 2014 is $9.1 million.
The Bears were linked to Vincent Jackson, a two-time Pro Bowl selection. But Jackson is nearly two years older than Marshall, who turns 28 on March 23, and his price tag was much higher. Jackson signed a five-year contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that averages $11.1 million a year, nearly $2 million more than Marshall.
Marshall joins the Arizona Cardinals’ Larry Fitzgerald and the Atlanta Falcons’ Roddy White as the only receivers to top 1,000 receiving yards in each of the last five seasons. He holds the NFL record with 21 catches in a single game.