Brandon Marshall and the Santonio Holmes trade: Kiss the dream of a first-round draft pick goodbye, Broncos

In recent weeks, much of the drama surrounding the Denver Broncos has involved Brandon Marshall, and whether any team would pony up the first-round draft pick Josh McDaniels and company want for his services.

Well, the decision this weekend by the Pittsburgh Steelers to trade receiver Santonio Holmes to the New York Jets for a fifth-round pick strongly suggests that the Broncos aren't going to get their price.

That leaves Denver in the same position as a family trying to unload an overpriced home in today's horrible real estate market. In all probability, they'll either have to take less than they believe they deserve or live with what they've got.

Bronco Talk's Mr. East puts this situation in perspective. Like Marshall, Holmes is an elite NFL receiver. And while I'd argue that Marshall has superior skills and a greater long-term physical upside, Holmes possesses a piece of hardware anyone would envy -- the Super Bowl XLIII MVP award.

However, Holmes, like Marshall, has had off-the-field issues aplenty. Indeed, he's just been handed a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy.

He's also being sued by a Florida woman who says her eye was cut when Holmes threw a glass at her in a nightclub. And like all too many athletes these days, he's made an ass out of himself a couple of times on his Twitter feed.

In response to a fan who criticized him last month, Holmes tweeted, "Y u tryna make me look like the bad guy. U should try finding the worst thing that you could drink n kill urself." Classy. In addition, Holmes recently tweeted that it was time to "wake and bake" -- the sort of comment that certainly won't help him if he decides to appeal that suspension.

These assorted issues only become more problematic in the context of Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger's own legal troubles: Today, a district attorney in Georgia is expected to announce if he'll file charges against Big Ben in conjunction with an alleged sexual assault allegation.

As such, the Steelers had more of an incentive to get rid of Holmes at a fire-sale rate than do the Broncos in regard to Marshall, who hasn't gotten into trouble in over a year. Still, the ultra-low price tag Holmes garnered makes it exceedingly doubtful that any GM will pay dearly for Marshall given his past history.

Does that mean there's a greater likelihood that Marshall could remain a Bronco for another year? ESPN's Bill Williamson doubts it. If he's right, we're left to wonder how little the Broncos would be willing to take in order to make Marshall go away.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts