Brandon Marshall wants to be back with the New York Jets. He wants a return so much that he’s not concerned with money — far from it, in fact.
“I’ll play for free. My bills are paid.” Marshall said, via Daniel Popper, NY Daily News. “I would love to be back. It’s not about the money anymore. It’s all about winning. I know what I’m worth. I think this team knows what I’m worth as far as the organization. But it’s not about the money. I’m good. I’m good with the money. I just want to win. That’s all I want to do.”
Marshall is certainly not the first professional athlete to say that he’d play for free. He would, however, be the first to actually do so.
Realistically, Marshall is right. Money is not a need for him. Based on NFL contracts alone, he’s made more than $56 million in his career (per Spotrac). He’s currently under contract for $7.5 million in 2017, but the Jets face no dead money if Marshall is cut.
Additionally, Marshall has never played in the playoffs. Given that he’ll be 33 in the 2017 season, it makes sense that he’d want to play for a winning team.
What doesn’t make sense is why he’d want to play for New York, a team in serious turmoil and coming off of a 5-11 season.
It’s true that in 2015, the Jets were 10-6 and would have made the playoffs with a Week 17 win. But the reality is that since reaching consecutive AFC Championship Games in 2009 and 2010, New York has gone 8-8 in 2011, 6-10 in 2012, 8-8 in 2013 and 4-12 in 2014.
Looking at those four seasons, what looks like the greater outlier? The 10-6 season in 2015, or the 5-11 season in 2016?
Marshall’s goal should be to go to a realistic playoff team (or at least contender) that needs a solid receiver to get to the next level. Plenty of those teams just missed the playoffs in 2016. A few others made it, but are likely looking at quick trips. Those are the teams Marshall and his agent should be targeting.
If Marshall actually takes a paycut to remain with the Jets, chances are good that he’ll be doubly frustrated following the 2017 season.