Broncos receiver Brandon Marshall traded to Miami |

Broncos receiver Brandon Marshall traded to Miami

Mike Klis and Lindsay H. Jones
The Denver Post
Denver Broncos wide receiver Brandon Marshall, whose time with the team has been marked with both brilliant on-field play and turbulent off-field incidents, was traded Wednesday to the Miami Dolphins.

DENVER – The exhilarating, maddening, starstruck career of Brandon Marshall as a Denver Bronco is finished.

Marshall has been traded to the Miami Dolphins for a second-round pick that the Broncos will use next Friday in the NFL Draft. And the Broncos will also receive another second draft pick in 2011.

Marshall will fly to Miami later today for a physical, after which he is expected to sign a long-term contract that he’s been seeking for more than a year.

With the Broncos, Marshall posted three consecutive 100-catch seasons, two consecutive Pro Bowls, but also several distracting disturbances both on-and off-the field, and no playoff appearances.

The trade to Miami was surprising because Dolphins coach Tony Sparano had said he didn’t think Marshall would be a good fit for his team. However, Bill Parcells has final say on Dolphins personnel and Parcells has never been afraid of working with controversial-but-talented receivers. See Terry Glenn in New England, Keyshawn Johnson with the New York Jets and Terrell Owens in Dallas.

The Broncos now have three picks in the first two rounds of the draft, which begins on April 22. The Broncos have the No. 11 pick in the first round on Thursday, and the No. 43 and No. 45 overall picks in the second round on Friday. The No. 43 pick is the one they will receive from Miami when the trade is finalized.

Marshall, who turned 26 last month, ends his four-year career in Denver with 327 catches and 4,019 receiving yards. The bulk of those stats came between 2007-2009, when he became one of only five players in NFL history to post three consecutive 100-catch seasons. He tied for third in the NFL in 2009 with 101 catches, and set a new career high with 10 touchdowns in his final season in Denver. He also set an NFL single-game record when he caught 21 passes in a game at Indianapolis in December.

Marshall’s divorce from the Denver Broncos has been inevitable since the end of the 2009 regular season – a year in which he was suspended from the team in the preseason and benched by coach Josh McDaniels for the regular season finale. Though both Marshall and McDaniels made weak comments following the season about the possibility of Marshall returning in 2010, the actions of both sides indicated otherwise.

Marshall emptied his locker – including removing the nameplate – on Jan. 4, the day after the Broncos’ final game. He was the only player to do so. Marshall, who despite spending much of his offseason living in Denver, never met face to face with McDaniels since the end of the regular season.

But it was the team that made the strongest sign that Marshall would not be a Bronco when it placed a first-round tender on the wide receiver on March 3. For a player of Marshall’s caliber – and age – it was a clear sign to the rest of the NFL that Marshall was on the market. With a depressed market for restricted free agents across the league, no team signed Marshall to an offer sheet or seemed willing to part with a first-round draft pick in exchange for Marshall.

Considering the market for other wide receivers this spring, the Broncos are likely thrilled to receive two second-round picks from Miami in exchange for Marshall. Last month, the Baltimore Ravens gave the Arizona Cardinals a third- and fourth-round picks for Anquan Boldin, and last weekend, the Jets gave up only a fifth-round pick for former Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes. Marshall is considered a better player now than both Boldin and Holmes. Marshall, though, has more off-field baggage than Boldin but less than Holmes, who is facing a four-game suspension in 2010 for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.

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