In a blog yesterday, we argued that the Pittsburgh Steelers' decision to trade controversial receiver Santonio Holmes to the New York Jets for a measly fifth-round draft choice likely meant the Broncos' dream of getting a first-rounder for Brandon Marshall was of the pipe variety.
ESPN Radio's Jason Smith argued differently during his overnight broadcast. In fact, he thinks the Holmes deal doesn't affect Marshall one bit.
Simply put, Smith says, the Broncos don't have to trade Marshall, even though he was benched for the final game of last season, at a time when a playoff spot was on the line (and rapidly fell off it). In his view, Marshall remains a player capable of catching fifteen passes a game, and there aren't many of those around.
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Smith, who had some sharp observations about the Kyle Orton-Brady Quinn competition last week, is right about all that. The Broncos have the luxury of waiting for a proposal that meets their expectations, and if none is forthcoming, they don't have to accept lower value. Instead, they can choose to keep a receiver that every talent evaluator with working eyeballs agrees is among the most skilled in the league.
Still, this strategy carries plenty of risks, since Marshall and coach Josh McDaniels are notably combustible personalities. There's a chance they could work together professionally for another season, with both of them making the most of the situation for their separate, and mutual, benefit. But it's equally likely that their relationship could venture into major-distraction territory via unwise comments to the press, benchings and Lord knows what else.
Whatever happens, though, the odds that anyone will offer the Broncos a first-round pick for Marshall had to have gone down after the Jets were able to obtain Holmes' services for a helluva lot less -- Smith's theorizing notwithstanding.