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Catching up with the Marshalls

Posted by Albert Breer  March 3, 2010 06:37 PM

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We said we'd have more restricted free agents for you to mull over -- after presenting Johnny Jolly to you earlier in the day -- and, sure enough, we do.

Let's start with Panthers CB Richard Marshall, who, in a bit of a surprise, was tendered at the second-round level ($1.759 million). Most would expect he'd get at least the first-round tender ($2.521 million) to scare other teams away from the rising young corner, but Carolina does already have big money committed to the position with the six-year, $53.5 million deal Chris Gamble signed about 14 months ago.

Marshall's 25, and had four picks, two fumble recoveries and nine passes defensed in 2009. He's a good, physical player, and a guy who played for Bill Belichick buddy Pat Hill at Fresno State, and someone the Patriots sniffed around before the 2006 draft. So if Leigh Bodden slips out of New England, Marshall could provide a long-term answer at corner.

Now for another Marshall, and a name that I know has been on a lot of Patriot fans' minds.

BMarshall.jpgYes, Brandon Marshall is a huge talent, and a player you can build an offense around. You can call him what you want -- "The Beast", "Baby T.O." -- but you can't question the impact he's had with more than 100 catches and 1,100 yards in each of his last three seasons.

He's available, as Denver tendered him at the first-round level, a price that's tenable for outside teams given Marshall's talent. And that could even fix the fact that I don't think Josh McDaniels would deal him here. The Broncos most certainly put that first-round tender on Marshall knowing someone will bite, setting his price in a trade and, perhaps, hoping the thing will work itself out naturally without forcing them to do much work at all on it. That means a trade or new contract (if they choose to match, barring a poison pill) is worked out for them.

Where I slam on the breaks here ... First, it doesn't seem like he was wild about Denver's Patriot-rooted offense last year. And second, Marshall's going to cost enormous money, and it might be risky tossing him in a locker room that was, at times last year, combustible.

Then, there's this: Marshall's agent is Kennard McGuire. Vince Wilfork's agent? Kennard McGuire. So any type of negotiation with Marshall could most certainly compromise negotiations with Wilfork, since to even enter the conversation on Marshall the Patriots will have to come with big money.

So both Marshalls here are intriguing. But I believe only one is realistic ... And it might not be the one you guys really want.
News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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