Restricted free agent linebacker Brandon Marshall technically remains unsigned, but having received a second-round tender from the Broncos earlier this month, his options are free agency are limited. While Marshall would prefer to sign a multiyear deal, rival teams figure to be unwilling to part with a second-round pick to land him, and there’s no urgency for the Broncos to up their one-year, $2.553MM offer.
According to Mike Klis of 9NEWS, Marshall is contemplating the possibility of holding out from Denver’s offseason program in the hopes of gaining some leverage for a long-term extension. Marshall and agent Drew Rosenhaus declined to comment on Klis’ report, but as the 9NEWS scribe points out, as long as the linebacker has yet to sign his tender, the team can’t penalize him for missing spring workouts.
If Marshall were to skip the Broncos’ offseason program, the next date to watch would be June 15th — at that point, the team would have the right to reduce the 26-year-old’s RFA tender to about $644K, and the club’s mandatory mini-camp is expected to take place around that time as well.
A former fifth-round pick, Marshall is a key cog in the Broncos’ defense, starting all 16 games and three postseason contests for the club in 2015. Over the course of the regular season, he totaled 101 tackles, 1.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, and an interception.
Marshall’s importance to the Broncos has actually worked against his chances of landing a multiyear contract this offseason. Fellow RFA C.J. Anderson received a low-end tender from Denver, which allowed him to explore the market without any potential compensatory picks attached to him. Anderson ultimately signed a four-year, $18MM offer sheet with the Dolphins, which the Broncos matched.
If Marshall had received a low-end ($1.671MM) tender from the Broncos, a rival suitor would only have had to give up a fifth-round pick to sign him away, but Denver decided not to take that risk, tendering him at the second-round level.
At the time of the move, one report indicated that the Dolphins and Seahawks may have some interest in Marshall. However, I speculated that the second-round tender would diminish his value on the open market, writing that the most probable scenario would involve Marshall playing out the 2016 season on his one-year tender before becoming eligible for unrestricted free agency in 2017. So far, that continues to look like the most likely outcome, but we’ll see if the threat of a holdout changes anything for the Broncos and their standout linebacker.
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