In one of the more stunning twists of the early free agency period, former Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall has jumped across town to join the New York Giants, a source told NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport.
The development was first reported by Newsday. According to Rapoport, the two-year deal is worth $12 million. Marshall was slated to make $7.5 million with the Jets this year before his release last week. The Giants later confirmed the signing.
“I think it’s the perfect situation for me,” Marshall said in a release sent out by the Giants. “There’s a stability in ownership. Since I’ve been in New York, all I’ve heard is amazing things about how well-run this organization is. Now I can understand why everybody holds the Giants organization so high.”
The move represents the best of all worlds for Marshall, who can remain in the city that he loves and continue to work for Showtime as a correspondent for Inside the NFL. Moreover, it represents Marshall’s best chance to reach the playoffs for the first time in his career. The Giants also get a premier wide receiver with some gas left in the tank at a fantastic market value. After having spent lavishly in free agency in two of the last three springs, general manager Jerry Reese knew he had to be frugal but still make an impact.
The Giants now unquestionably pose the greatest three-headed pass catching threat in the division, pairing the six-time Pro Bowler with the dynamic Odell Beckham and promising Sterling Shepard. Marshall’s above-average strength should also aid the struggling Eli Manning, who has a massive target that can control defensive backs within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage especially well.
“I know my number one job is to take pressure off the other receivers by doing my job and being a great receiver,” Marshall said. “I think that naturally will happen as far as being able to be that older guy in the room where they can learn from my history and my experiences. There is a lot that they can pull from. Hopefully, we’ll learn from each other.”
The signing represents a significant departure for Giants head coach Ben McAdoo, who, until now, was stockpiling the team with wide receivers similar to the ones he dealt with in Green Bay. But after the release of Victor Cruz earlier this offseason, it was clear more change was on the way.
The question now is how this works inside the locker room. Marshall is a sage veteran who is not afraid of dispensing advice and telling the truth. In the best-case scenario, his presence irons out the perceived wrinkles in Beckham’s personality and pairs the budding superstar with the wise old man he has yet to work with. The Giants do not want to consider the worst-case scenario.
While there should not have been any doubt already, the Giants have confirmed the obvious: They are selling out to maximize the remaining years that Manning has left as an effective football player, and they are doing everything in their power to buoy him. The Giants also franchised Jason Pierre-Paul this offseason to keep their punishing defensive line intact.
This is not your father’s Giants team anymore, which could be excellent news or disastrous news depending on how this unit fits together. For decades, the best Giants teams were built patiently through the draft with an emphasis on offensive line and defensive line play. While they have ascending stars on their offensive line, a good number of their greatest players — Damon Harrison, Janoris Jenkins, Olivier Vernon and now Marshall — were acquired in free agency.
Marshall has eight 1,000-yard seasons and his 25 receiving touchdowns since 2014 are among the most in football. The only other time the Giants had two 1,000-yard receivers on the same team — Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz back in 2011 — they won the Super Bowl. According to NFL research, Marshall has been the most productive receiver in football over the last decade in terms of both catches (921) and receiving yards (11,752).