The Giants released Brandon Marshall today.
“Yes, we have,” GM Dave Gettleman said when a Washington Post report on Marshall’s release broke in the middle of Gettleman’s pre-draft press conference in East Rutherford.
Not long after, Marshall posted a video on Instagram of him sliding his nameplate off his Giants locker for good.
The move was expected much earlier in the offseason. Gettleman said the Giants released Marshall with a designation of failed physical. Gettleman, asked if he would be interested in free agent receiver Dez Bryant, said: “I have interest in everybody. We do our film work, and you never know.”
But Marshall’s release more prudently would be used to free salary cap space to sign Odell Beckham Jr. to a long-term extension. Cutting Marshall clears $5.1 million in salary cap space, and the Giants need space if they’re going to increase Beckham’s scheduled $8.4 million 2018 cap hit to $17 million or so on an extension.
Of Beckham’s future, Gettleman remained coy.
“He’s on our team,” Gettleman said. “He’s a valued member of our football team.”
Still, if the Giants wish to add a receiver, it’d make more sense to re-sign Beckham and draft a young wideout than to ink Bryant, 29, who has lost a step and does not fit the mold of the players Gettleman has brought in to change the Giants’ culture.
Marshall, 34, a six-time Pro Bowler and former 2012 first-team All-Pro, had one forgettable season as a Giant. He caught 18 passes for 154 yards and no touchdowns in five underwhelming games before breaking his ankle in Week 5 against the L.A. Chargers at MetLife Stadium.
Marshall underwent ankle stabilization surgery on Oct. 10 and was planning to remain a Giant with one year remaining on his two-year contract. In fact, Marshall not only attended Eli Manning’s recent annual passing camp with Giants receivers at Duke; he also reportedly offered to take a pay cut, per The Washington Post.
But the Giants released him anyway, and awkwardly, it happened just two days after Marshall had shot down Bryant’s pitch to play for the Giants on Instagram, writing: “Sorry baby bro no room.”
Criticisms of Marshall throughout his career have centered around issues in the locker room, but on Dec. 28 in Week 17, in Marshall’s final meeting with the media, he made an interesting point about the Giants’ dysfunction of 2017:
“It’s a unique experience, because I think a majority of my career I’ve been in this type of environment and I’m usually in the center of it,” Marshall said. “So it felt good to not be in the center of the drama. So that was interesting.”
Marshall didn’t contribute enough on the field at the start of the season, though. He couldn’t stay healthy long enough to turn it around. And now he’s a free agent.