The Dolphins are in the process this morning of acquiring wide receiver Brandon Marshall.
The Dolphins will trade their second-round pick (43rd overall) this season and another pick for the player who is among the NFL's best but most enigmatic wide receivers.
ESPN.com's Adam Shefter is reporting the Dolphins could also send a second-round pick to the Broncos next year but The Miami Herald has not confirmed that yet. [Update: The trade is indeed for two second-round picks, one in 2010 and one in 2011.]
The trade is not yet complete and not yet announced. But it is happening, folks. Marshall is set to fly to South Florida as early as today (Wednesday) to take a physical. The NFL has not yet approved this deal.
The trade is a jaw-dropper on many levels.
Marshall is not, shall we say, typical of Dolphins wide receivers under Bill Parcells. He is 6-4 and 230 pounds of physical playmaker. He is also a guy with a troubling history for domestic violence and being suspended by his own team.
And he is a great producer.
Marshall, 26 years old, has caught over 100 passes for over 1,000 yards each of the past three seasons.
Last season, Marshall caught 21 passes in one game against the Indianapolis Colts. The entire Dolphins wide receiver corps -- all five guys -- did not have a 2009 game in which they combined for 21 catches.
Only last month Dolphins coach Tony Sparano said Marshall was not a fit for the Dolphins and, well, everyone believed him. This offseason the Dolphins have acquired Marshall after Sparano said he wasn't a fit and cut Gibril Wilson after general manager Jeff Ireland suggested he would be playing well for the team in 2010.
The Dolphins have wanted to upgrade at wide receiver since last season and began focusing on Marshall at the beginning of this offseason. The club asked defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, who was the Denver defensive coordinator last season, for his opinion on Marshall.
I am told it was an honest report that included facts of Marshall's warts. But Nolan also shared that Marshall is the best wide receiver talent his defense faced last year -- that in practice.
This actual deal has been in the works for only a matter of days. But the possibility of it leaked out Tuesday. As reported in the previous blog entry here, Marshall told at least one Denver Broncos teammates yesterday that he was headed to the Dolphins.
A side note to that report, the teammate told Marshall he wished he was coming to Miami, also.
Once this trade becomes official, the Dolphins and agent Kennard McGuire will finalize a new contract for Marshall. It will be an enormous deal.
I'm told the sides have already set parameters on a deal that will make Marshall the highest-paid wide receiver in the NFL. The highest paid WR in 2009 was Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald, who earned $10,893,332.
Marshall's deal will average at least $10 million per season and also could include guaranteed monies exceeding $30 million.
"Brandon Marshall is a friend of mine," Buffalo safety Donte Whitner said on his twitter account moments ago. "About to sign one of the most lucrative deals for a WR in NFL history. Congrats, bro!'
On the field, this get is a slam dunk.
Off the field, there are questions.
Marshall obviously wore out his welcome in Denver despite his supreme gifts. He was suspended once by the NFL and once by the team. He has a history of domestic violence -- with at least seven known instances in which police have been called or women have alleged he was violent against them.
In the locker room, Marshall was often engaging with the media but displeased with his coaches or the organization. To be fair, there were times Marshall was a coach-favorite also, probably coming on the heels of great performances.
But Marshall was unhappy because he deemed himself to be under-appreciated by the Broncos. Under-appreciated is defined as under-paid. The Broncos were reluctant to invest big money over a long span on the player because of his enigmatic history.
It will be interesting to find out if Marshall's contract has a behavior clause that would force him to forfeit or give back any money if he is convicted of any crime or suspended by the NFL.
The Dolphins officially have zero comment on this matter. Unofficially I'm told there was a great amount of debate about Marshall and, initially, there was no clear consensus on the matter. Eventually, however, that consensus was obviously reached.
Once official, this deal will give quarterback Chad Henne his best opportunity to become an elite quarterback. The Dolphins recognize they have an elite left tackle and a very promising signal-caller, but their offense was not dangerous for lack of a downfield threat.
Marshall, who has 25 TDs in four seasons including catches of 68, 71 and 75 yards, is set to become that threat.