When people in the Mile High City think of No. 15 for the Denver Broncos, Tim Tebow‘s name immediately comes to mind.
But if fans go back a little further, they may remember the later Shanahan-era brought along another player who was a star for the Broncos long before Tebow even entered the NFL: Brandon Marshall. The receiver affectionately dubbed “Baby T.O.” took the NFL by storm with his physical and explosive play on the field.
Marshall was one of the game’s best wide receivers and was only getting better. Marshall was named to back-to back Pro Bowls in 2008 and 2009, his final two seasons in Denver.
So what happened? Why would the Broncos ever part ways with a young superstar?
At the start of 2009 season, Marshall was upset about his role in then head coach Josh McDaniels’ offense and requested to be traded. Marshall displayed some unusual antics during training camp and was subsequently suspended and benched.
From there, the relationship continued to sour, as McDaniels sat Marshall for the team’s final regular season game with the playoffs on the line.
In 2009, Marshall was traded to the Miami Dolphins for two second-round draft picks. Since then Marshall has had stints with the Chicago Bears and New York Jets, earning Pro Bowl nods with each team.
As reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Jets have released the 32-year-old veteran, per his request.
A decade since selecting him the fourth round of the 2006 NFL Draft, the Broncos should seriously consider bringing Marshall back to where it all began.
Looking to put a stagnant 2016 offense behind them, Marshall’s presence would create a three headed monster of playmakers that would give opposing defenses fits. Denver already boasts one of the league’s best wide receiver duos in the league. However, as the team saw last year, a No. 3 option has been all but nonexistent for Denver.
A Marshall reunion would keep Demaryius Thomas at the No. 1 WR position, opposite of Marshall. This would allow Emmanuel Sanders to kick inside to the slot. This was originally the plan for Sanders and 2014 draft pick Cody Latimer. The last time Denver had a three-headed aerial attack (Thomas, Eric Decker and Wes Welker), it set regular season NFL records.
At this stage in his career, Marshall would be wise to accept a team-friendly deal that would allow him to play for a playoff contender. These are the types of deals that team general manager John Elway actively seeks.
Infinitely more mature and level-headed than he was in his previous years as an NFL player, Marshall’s presence in the locker room would be a positive one. One year removed from a Pro Bowl season with the Ryan Fitzpatrick-led Jets, Marshall can still be an effective wide receiver in the right circumstances.
A journey back home with two other star recovers seems like the perfect way for Marshall to wind down a successful NFL career.