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Were the Dolphins wise to commit to Marshall long-term?

The Dolphins have been desperately searching for a true No. 1 wideout for the better part of the last decade. That’s why they ultimately decided to part with two second round picks in order to acquire Brandon Marshall from the Broncos on Wednesday, and why they broke out their checkbook to sign the receiver to a four-year, $47.5 million contract extension.

When Marshall is healthy and happy, there’s little doubt that he brings a lot to the field. At 6’4”, 230 pounds, he has great size and once he gets the ball in his hands, he’s a playmaker in every sense of the word. He’s drawn comparisons to Terrell Owens (in his prime), only it’s T.O. that wishes he had Marshall’s hands.

When he’s healthy and happy, Marshall is worth the money. But keeping him happy has proven to be difficult.

Miami did what they had to do. They had a major need at receiver, so they acquired the best one available and made sure they locked him up to a long-term contract. But there’s no doubt that the Dolphins are taking a huge risk by committing to a player that is about as well behaved as Pacman Jones inside a strip club with $10,000 in his back pocket. The hope for Bill Parcells and company is that Marshall will behave now that he has a long-term contract, but there’s no guarantee of that.

In comparison, the Packers signed Greg Jennings to a four-year, $26.9 million contract in June of 2009. Granted, Marshall is more talented and this is an uncapped year, but when you factor in the risk associated with Marhsall, you can see that the Dolphins are taking a big leap of faith. (For another comparison, Marshall is set to make $2 million more than Roddy White too, whom the Falcons signed to a six-year, $48 million contract last August.)

But again, the Dolphins had no choice. In this case, the risk is worth the reward because Marshall is still young (26), very productive and could potentially be the difference-maker that Miami has coveted for years. If he behaves, the Dolphins won’t live to regret their decision.


Photo from fOTOGLIF

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