15

March

Chicago Bears Trade For WR Brandon Marshall: At Ease, Packers Fans

Bears WR Brandon Marshall

Will Marshall behave himself with the Chicago Bears? His history says no.

All right Packer Nation, all together now:

1…2…3…., EXHALE!

Did that make you feel any better? It seems some fans are moving a little closer to the edge of their seats with the news that the Green Bay Packers’ archrival Chicago Bears trade for wide receiver Brandon Marshall who is now reunited with Jay Cutler from their days together with the Denver Broncos.  Throw in that they signed a (somewhat) competent backup to Cutler and the questions suddenly beckons:

Have the Bears tilted the balance of power in the NFC North?

Some Packer fans fear this is really this case.  To that, I say hogwash.  Cheeseheads always grow tenser this time of year as their divisional rivals sign free agents while the Packers stand pat until the NFL Draft rolls around. It’s common emotion many fans feel during the craziness that usually is the opening days of free agency.

To those anxiety-ridden fans, I say calm yourself.  Look at the big picture.  The trade for Marshall may not be as big of a win as it looks on paper.

Why you might ask? First off, Marshall is a known troublemaker.  He even found trouble this past weekend as the Bears and Miami Dolphins were finalizing this trade.  Outside a nightclub in New York, a fight broke out and Marshall is suspected with punching a woman in the face.  It won’t be Marshall’s first run in with police nor is it even the first time he has been accused of striking a woman.

Throw in his petulance problems on the practice field (remember that footage of him punting a ball during practice instead of simply handing it to a ball boy?) and this move could be an utter disaster for the locker room of the Bears.

Speaking of the locker room, that brings me to my next point.  Marshall will be catching passes thrown by a quarterback whose leadership and decision making skills get called into question every season.  Cutler was playing decent football in 2011 before he went down for the year with a thumb injury, but how often did you see him sulking on the sideline in his street clothes instead of coaching up Caleb Hanie or Josh McCown?

14

March

All you Need to Know About Day 1 of NFL Free Agency and the Green Bay Packers

Brandon Marshall

The Bears traded two third-round picks for WR Brandon Marshall.

It’s 11:30 p.m. central time on Tuesday, March 13, 2012. I’m going to read a few pages in my book and go to bed. By the time this publishes around 7 a.m. central time on Wednesday, March 14, 2012, a bunch of other stuff might have happened and the news contained in this post might feel like it’s 10 years old.

Welcome to the start of NFL free agency.

A lot went down on Tuesday when 532 NFL players hit the open market. Let’s take a look at the developments that concern the Green Bay Packers:

  • Packers center Scott Wells is as good as gone according Packer Report. I was a big advocate for bringing Wells back, even if it meant overspending a little. Maybe it’s me accepting the fact that Wells is probably leaving, but I started changing my mind a couple days ago. Is it wise to overspend for a 31-year-old center that’s undersized and isn’t that great of a run blocker? Probably not, especially when there’s extensions for Aaron Rodgers, Greg Jennings and Clay Matthews coming up in the near future. The Packers will miss Wells’s pass blocking. They’ll miss his command of the pre-snap calls just as much. But it’s not a devastating loss…I don’t think.
  • And who knows? Maybe the Packers are treating Wells like they treated Clifton a few years ago, letting him explore the market to see what sort of offers are out there and hoping for an opportunity to match.
  • There’s been some scuttle that the Packers might go after Houston center Chris Myers to replace Wells. I’ll believe it when I see it. Myers would be an upgrade over Wells, but replacing his own high-priced free agent with another high-priced free agent isn’t how Ted Thompson typically operates.
  • Packers DE Mike Neal has been suspended four games for using a performance enhancing substance. The injury-prone Neal gets a lot of heat from Packers fans and this won’t make it any better. I always had sympathy for Neal. Why should we get angry at a young player just because he gets hurt? But this changes things. There’s no excuse for taking PEDs. The best thing Neal can do is admit his mistake, take his punishment like a man, and try to come back and salvage his career.