Can't believe we're saying this -- but Brandon Marshall deserves to get paid

I take second place to no one in Brandon Marshall bashing over the past six months or so -- and I continue to feel it was entirely justified given allegations about bad behavior by former squeeze Rasheedah Watley, among many other things. Now, however, Broncos owner Pat Bowlen is talking about fattening Marshall's wallet in a major way -- and I'm not in the slightest mood to bash him for it. In fact, it sounds like a damned good idea.

No, I'm not drunk. Well, maybe a little -- on wins.

Here's my rationale. Marshall miraculously dodged NFL suspension and skated after facing off with Watley in court, meaning there are no more league or legal challenges encumbering his future playing status. On top of that, the weeks of either faking or exaggerating injuries to express displeasure at his contract status are over, having ended after coach Josh McDaniels finally grew tired of his infantilism and suspended him for one hissy fit too many.

Since coming back, Marshall has worked hard to get himself in playing shape, and to learn McDaniels' offense. And instead of celebrating ultra-satisfying wins against the Cowboys and the Patriots by reverting to petulant diva status, he's actually appeared to have learned his lessons.

For that, McDaniels deserves credit for getting tough with Marshall instead of taking the easier tack and shipping him out of town. And Marshall? As long as he follows the righteous path he finally, finally, finally seems to be on, he deserves a new contract with some extra zeros in it.