On Thursday night, the Jets announced that they were releasing WR Brandon Marshall. This essentially putting the final nail in the coffin on the current Jets team and ushering in a full-scale rebuild. While the Jets came into the 2016-17 season hopeful after just missing the playoffs in 2015 it seemed like nothing would go their way this time around, finishing with a 5-11 record.
So is there any chance of Fitzpatrick returning to his old team on a new contract? Adrian Peterson and other players are rumored to be considering these options as well. Neither of these are likely. Word is that it was Marshall himself who requested this release. Whether his intention was to chase a ring or to just escape an anemic offense, Marshall has made it clear that his time with the Jets is through. Even if Marshall were interested in a return it seems that the Jets have moved on as well. Their release of veterans like Marshall and Nick Mangold show that they are going to focus on their younger players.
Potential Landing Spots
If not back to the Jets, then where will he end up? The most obvious answer and the one that everyone is already talking about are the New England Patriots. If Marshall really does value getting a ring above all else, then there’s a very good chance we’ll see him in a Pats uniform come September. What can we expect if Marshall makes the decision to travel a bit farther up the East Coast? The answer can only be a receiving core for the Patriots that will be downright scary. With Edelman, Gronkowski, and Chris Hogan this past season Brady already has a plethora of options when looking to throw. Adding Brandon Marshall into the mix just takes that to a whole new level.
What would this mean for Marshall’s fantasy outlook in the upcoming season? If this were most other teams, I would say that there would simply be too many mouths to feed. His production would suffer in that situation as a result of the ball being spread around. This is the Patriots however and we all know that in any given game any receiver can be a viable fantasy option. The Pats usually don’t take their foot off the gas until the game is over and this can only mean good things for Marshall.
Let’s consider the possibility that a deal with the Patriots doesn’t work out. Where would Marshall go then? If he can’t get a deal done with a title contender then he may be looking for one last big payday while he can still get it. If this ends up being true then there are quite a few landing spots for Marshall. A fair amount of teams have the cap space to sign Marshall but I’d look to the Niners, Titans, and Buccaneers as the teams most likely to get a deal done.
In terms of fantasy value, I could absolutely see Marshall thriving with the Titans or Bucs. The Niners are a different story, however. I’m not ready to write off a good season for Marshall in San Francisco, but that will be largely dependent on offseason movement. The most important question is who ends up starting for them at QB.
In the end, it all comes down to how much money Marshall expects vs. his desire to play for a good team. In my opinion, the most likely landing spot would be New England, but with a receiver of Marshall’s caliber, other teams will be making some big offers that may be too good to resist.