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DMN: It’s time for the tender game

Are the Jets or Ravens willing to take a chance on Brandon Marshall? Michael Lombardi

Print This March 04, 2010, 10:10 AM EST

QUOTE: “We cannot avoid conflict, conflict with society, other individuals and with oneself. Conflicts may be the sources of defeat, lost life and a limitation of our potentiality, but they may also lead to greater depth of living and the birth of more far-reaching unities, which flourish in the tensions that engender them.” -- Karl Jaspers

The tender game

Most of the news coming from the NFL on Wednesday was centered on what each restricted free agent was tendered by his current team. These tenders tell the story of what teams would take in trade for their players. Some were tendered a first and third, some were tendered just a first, some a second, some their original draft position and some just a first right of refusal. All tenders come with a monetary value attached. In a capped era, these tenders had to fit into the cap, and that was often a difficult process. Now, with the uncapped year, these tenders don’t count, and teams can place the real value on each player — according to them.

Brandon Marshall

The Broncos only placed a first-round tender on Marshall, which might surprise some teams, but if the intent is to trade him, then this is the right tender. By placing a first-round pick on Marshall, the Broncos are essentially saying to all teams in the bottom of the first round, “Come and make an offer.” Would the Broncos take less than a first round pick? I strongly doubt it, but they also won’t match an offer sheet.

So which team goes after Marshall? The Jets and Ravens both need wide receivers, and both are slated to pick wide receivers in the first round, depending on who’s available. It would be hard to imagine that anyone in this draft would be as talented or as productive as Marshall. Clearly, the value for the Jets and Ravens to trade a one for Marshall is in their favor. However, the difficult part centers on the money. How much do you pay him? How much are you willing to take a chance on his off-the-field behavior? Marshall is a top-10 player in the league at his position and might be a top-three player with the ball in his hands, but with that talent comes concerns.

The fundamental question the Jets, Ravens or any other team must ask themselves before entering into a deal is whether they can cope with Marshall the person? Can they get comfortable with his personality once he’s rewarded with a huge contract? In any negotiation with Marshall, it will be hard for a team to demand a character clause in the contract, especially if there’s more than one team pursuing his services. Marshall does hold some leverage as he enters the restricted market, but he doesn’t have all the leverage. To do the right deal for Marshall, teams must deal with the conflict of his past and do a contract that protects them, or else they might get burned.

Stanford Routt? Are you kidding me?

Routt is the Raiders’ latest lottery winner. The Raiders tendered their backup corner a first and third tender, which was more than five times what he made last year. This completely irrational and illogical behavior tells the tale of what’s wrong with the Raiders. Why would they even think a team in the NFL would take Routt from them for his original draft position, which was a second-round pick? (Seriously, I got at least 10 texts yesterday from former Raiders coaches laughing about the tender.) Routt might be loved by the owner, but his play on the field is mediocre at best, and this decision indicates that no matter what anyone else might think, if the owner wants to overpay, he overpays. Just ask Javon Walker and DeAngelo Hall, or Tommie Kelly and Terdell Sands. Even hard-core Raiders fans have to wonder why anyone would tender a first and third for Routt.

So let me get this straight. The Raiders tender Bruce Gradkowski, a player they want to succeed, a second, and then tender a backup corner a first and third. Makes sense to me, having spent time in the illogical world called “The Hotel.”

Browns quarterbacks

There’s a report that the Browns are in trade talks for a new quarterback. Based on all the talk I heard at the combine, this report may well be true. The Browns’ quarterback situation will have a completely new look next season, and don’t be surprised if Brady Quinn is not with the team come training camp. Derek Anderson has a large roster bonus due in March that the Browns clearly won’t pay, forcing his release. And based on what I heard, no one in the organization feels Quinn is the answer, long or short term.

Follow me on Twitter: michaelombardi

For a look at Mike Tannenbaum's offseason history with the Jets, check out this article from Bleacher Report.

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