The Denver Broncos May Have Overpaid LB Brandon Marshall

Linebacker Brandon Marshall just signed a huge four-year extension. MHH Analyst Erick Trickel examines whether the Broncos overpaid or not.

Four years, $32 million—with $20 million of it guaranteed. That is the start of the contract for Brandon Marshall. This new four-year deal doesn’t kick in until after the 2016 season, which he will play out under the restricted free agent tender amount of $2.553 million.

Marshall received a $10 million dollar signing bonus, which will have to hold him over until the extension contract kicks in. If he plays out the full contract, he will be 31 years old when it expires after the 2020 season. Marshall will have the same cap hit as before for the 2016 season, which is a relief to the Denver Broncos in their current cap situation.

Now, Marshall is a very good linebacker. He is outstanding in coverage, and solid against the run. However, his contract is a slight overpay. When I say overpay, I am not saying it is a bad deal for the Broncos, or that he received way more money than he deserved. The issue comes with the signing bonus and fully guaranteed dollars.

Only two players received $20-plus million guaranteed who play inside linebacker. Luke Kuechly, the best inside linebacker in the NFL, and Brian Cushing, who really got overpaid, but thats a different situation entirely. Marshall is better than Cushing, which makes the guarantee look not so bad.

However, there are other linebackers who are around the same level as Marshall who average $13-17 million guaranteed, which is more in Marshall's range. An extra $3 million of the top end, which Marshall would’ve been at, isn’t bad. Still, it is a slight overpay.

As for the signing bonus, $10 million is a lot for Marshall, but again not over the top. Per my calculations, a fair signing bonus for Marshall was right around $8 million ($8.25 to be exact). The $1.75 million difference is one that can be lived with.

As previously stated, Marshall is great in coverage. He is one of the best coverage linebackers in the NFL. However, he has plenty of issues when defending the run. Marshall makes a lot of highlight plays due to his ability to avoid blockers and sort through the garbage to make the tackle. That's great. The issue is, linebackers can’t always do that and they need to be adequate at taking on blockers and not disappear. With Marshall, nine out of ten times, he disappears when he takes on a block. This simple fact is what makes Marshall's deal just a slight overpay.

One thing that helped Marshall tremendously was Danny Trevathan. Trevathan was really good at taking on blocks for Marshall, to give his ILB partner a clean run to the ball carrier. They were a dynamic duo who worked perfectly together.

With Trevathan out of town, Marshall might be asked to take over his role, which involves taking on a lot more blocks. If Marshall hasn’t improved in that area, it could lead to bad things. If he has improved, then all should be fine.

While it is a slight overpay for Marshall at this moment, it could be more than worth it after this season. If Marshall did improve in that key area, and gets more consistent all-around, this deal could prove to be a steal. 

With all that said, congratulations to Brandon Marshall on inking the extension. The former Jacksonville Jaguars fifth round pick has had a bumpy ride—from being drafted in the fifth round, to cut by the Jaguars, to the Broncos practice squad—which started the climb to where he is now.

Marshall is a really good player and a really good person. If Denver had to overpay for anyone, its a good thing they chose him.

Erick Trickel in an Analyst for MileHighHuddle. You can find him on Twitter @Trickel_MHH. And be sure to like MileHighHuddle on Facebook

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