Brandon Marshall hasn’t even entered the state of Illinois yet and he’s already the most talented receiver the Bears have ever had.
And the Bears got him from Miami for a pair of third-round picks?
That’s enough to make a Chicagoan wonder what catastrophic injury Marshall suffered when no one was looking, or maybe it’s something else.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted late Tuesday that Marshall was “involved in another incident that could lead to an NFL review,” and the New York Post reported Wednesday that Marshall was involved in a New York nightclub altercation early Sunday morning.
In any case, thank you, Miami — and thank you, Phil Emery.
In what remains one of the most incongruous periods of Bears history, former GM Jerry Angelo went out on a huge limb and paid a heavy price for Jay Cutler, also the most talented player the Bears have ever had at his position.
But in the three years after, Angelo and head coach Lovie Smith did everything imaginable to undermine Cutler and make virtually certain that Cutler couldn’t succeed.
Angelo placed Cutler behind a terrible offensive line and saddled him with a horrible receiving corps, while Smith handed him systems that made no sense, coordinators he hated and QB coaches he wouldn’t even speak to on Sunday. Now, the Bears have given Mike Tice to Cutler, ensuring they won’t have a raving madman as offensive coordinator.
They brought in Jeremy Bates as QB coach, someone who worked closely with Cutler and Marshall in Denver, someone Cutler genuinely likes. And now Emery has given Cutler a huge target and No. 1 receiver in Marshall.
The Bears still need at least two more receivers, a left tackle, a guard and a genuine, pass-catching tight end.
And that’s just on offense.
But, hey, this is a great start — and a shocker.
Assuming Marshall didn’t lose a limb on the trip to Chicago, this is a steal for the Bears.
They gave up one third-rounder this year and one next year, and they had an extra third-round pick in hand from the Greg Olsen deal.
You have to at least pause and wonder why they got Marshall so cheap, but assuming Marshall is healthy and has come to terms with his diagnosis of borderline personality disorder — he says he has — the Bears got an absolute monster without overpaying in free agency and without giving up a first-round pick.
If the Bears had given up a first-rounder for Marshall and then spent in free agency to get another receiver, that would have been great, but with this deal they keep that first-rounder and have money to spend in free agency to fill needs.
Marshall gets the comfort of being wanted by his QB and coaching staff — crucial considering his borderline personality — and a head coach in Smith known for coddling his players.
Cutler gets the comfort of knowing his Pro Bowl season in Denver was with Marshall, and Marshall has become an even better player since they were separated.
His first year with Kyle Orton was ridiculous, playing only 15 games and starting 13. He hated Josh McDaniels and still caught 101 passes (10 TDs) for 1,120 yards, making most of those plays on his own and nearly half his yards after catch (527).
Last year catching passes in Miami from Matt Moore, Chad Henne and J.P. Losman, Marshall started 16 games and caught 81 balls for 1,214 yards.
Marshall will be 28 later this month, and he’s under contract for three more years. Just as important, Cutler has two years left before he and the Bears have to make decisions about his future, and after three years of misery Cutler should be feeling better about his career.
Jerry Angelo never did anything for Cutler. Lovie Smith never believed Cutler needed more, and Smith still thinks defense before offense.
But Phil Emery has already done more for Cutler than the other two combined, and he’s been here seven weeks.
There’s a lot more work to do on both sides of the ball to get this thing right, but Brandon Marshall is a good start for the Bears.
It’s a really good start.
ŸListen to Barry Rozner from 9 a.m. to noon Sundays on the Score’s “Hit and Run” show at WSCR 670-AM, and follow him @BarryRozner on Twitter.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.