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Sunday, March 3

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Bears Fri Mar 16 2012

Tread Carefully With Brandon Marshall, Bears Fans

Congratulations on acquiring Brandon Marshall!

Pros: Tall, strong, works well with Jay Cutler
Cons: Temperamental, stone-mitten hands

Lacking anyone who could even convincingly dress up as a No. 1 receiver for Halloween, the Bears made the first big move of the NFL off-season this week by trading for Miami Dolphins receiver Brandon Marshall. The three-time Pro Bowler comes relatively cheap, with Chicago giving up its third-round draft picks this year and next.

I'm a Dolphins fan by birth, so let me be the first to warn you: Have fun!

Watching Marshall week to week over the past two seasons has been a roller coaster, but not necessarily a fun one. Despite his obvious physical talents, and the consistent yardage (five 1,000-yard seasons in a row), he's never been a receiver I trusted in the clutch.

He tied for second with 12 drops last season, and it felt like a lot more because several of them were certain touchdowns. On an offense as anemic as Miami's, those touchdowns were HUGE. Consider that he only had six touchdowns last year, total -- those drops would have doubled his tally, and easily put him in the conversation for best receiver in the league.

(And don't you dare mention his four-TD performance in the Pro Bowl. I like my receivers to play well in real games.)

Finally, of course, there's the off-field problems. From the major events (stabbed by his wife last summer; involved in an altercation the night Denver's Darrent Williams was shot to death) to less publicized but no less troubling domestic issues that resulted in no charges, he's clearly not one of the league's PR darlings. His battle with borderline personality disorder aside, he's established a clear record as someone that trouble continually finds.

But the man played well with Cutler, and maybe that will be the difference. I won't begin to pretend that the Dolphins had even a halfway decent quarterback in his two years in Miami, and perhaps it's that glaring hole in the pocket that made me so upset when Marshall was unable to reel in a catch. If he couldn't pick up the slack, who the hell else would? Cutler himself seems similar to Marshall in mood and on-field temperament; maybe that understanding is the key to catching 10-plus touchdowns.

Overall, this trade puts me in a weird place. As much as I don't care that he's leaving the Dolphins, I'm also equally sure Bears fans will be happy with his performance. Whether that's just bitter resentment after seeing many a Fin let go for pennies on the dollar succeed elsewhere (looking at you, Wes Welker) or because Chicago has a legit starting quarterback, I'm not sure.

Marshall's got the tools to succeed, and the baggage to fail. No matter what becomes of him in Chicago, no one will be able to say they never saw it coming. Just try to enjoy the ride while you can.

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Thomas L. Vaultonburg / March 16, 2012 11:47 AM

After hearing today's press conference I don't think he's got BPD, I think he's a sociopath

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