A salute to Brandon Marshall for turning around his life.
His career did not do the same with the Seahawks.
Seattle released the six-time Pro Bowl wide receiver on Tuesday.
It was the Seahawks’ only move for the 53-man active roster on the day. As expected, they did not make a trade before the NFL’s deadline to do so Tuesday afternoon.
No need to change what’s working on a team that’s won four of its last five games. Plus, the Seahawks’ biggest need, experienced depth in the pass rush, is one of the league’s most expensive commodities to acquire.
Marshall dropped four passes in consecutive games at the end of last month. The 34-year-old’s barely played since.
What happened to Marshall?
David Moore happened to Marshall.
Moore, the Seahawks’ seventh-round draft choice in 2017 out of tiny East Central University in Oklahoma, has emerged as the physical receiver to rip balls from defenders that Marshall was trying to reassert himself as in the NFL with Seattle.
Moore has 11 receptions and four touchdown in the last four games, coinciding with Marshall’s dropped passes then benching. Those are the first catches and touchdowns of Moore’s career.
While Moore was athletically tipping another touchdown pass to himself during last weekend’s win at Detroit, Marshall was on the other half of the field. He standing on the sidelines with backup quarterback Brett Hundley, idling about 45 yards behind the line of scrimmage. He seemed farther from Seattle’s offense than that. Marshall played just two of the Seahawks’ 63 snaps against the Lions.
Marshall had emerged in August as a potential big-play target for Russell Wilson to dominate smaller defensive backs in the red zone. He and his new quarterback spent many hours during and after practices in training camp working on back-shoulder and fade-route throws along the sideline. Wilson and coordinator Brian Schottenheimer marveled at Marshall’s intellect and initiative in suggesting plays and schemes for the offense.
Fifth-round draft choice Tre Flowers, a safety in college, credited Marshall for advice and on-field testing each day in practice that accelerated the rookie’s learning of cornerback.
Marshall did such a job teaching, Flowers is Seattle’s starting right cornerback on a defense that has created the NFL’s second-best turnover margin after seven games, plus-10.
But after a solid start during which Marshall had nine catches for 120 yards in three games and praised Wilson as “special” Marshall had just two catches over the last month. His short Seahawks, and maybe long NFL, career ends with him having 11 receptions for 136 yards with one touchdown.
That score came in the opening game, against his former Denver Broncos. Marshall had a second touchdown catch that day called back by what he said was one of the few offensive pass-interference penalties he’s had in his 13-year career.
For one week, it seemed like he was back.
Then he dropped three passes, all on third down, early in the Seahawks’ home-opening win over Dallas. He dropped another ball early in the following week’s victory at Arizona. Moore emerged as Marshall faded, and that was basically that for Marshall in Seattle.
Marshall signed a one-year contract in May worth the veteran minimum of $1,015,000. The Seahawks will pay that through the end of the season because as a vested veteran his pay became guaranteed when he was on the roster for week one. He had the chance to double his money this season in performance bonuses. He was nowhere near achieving those.
Then there’s the cold reality of NFL business: Moore, 23, is 11 years younger. His salary is half of Marshall’s this season, $550,000. He is under contract for two more years at bargain rates below $1 million.
When Marshall arrived with the Seahawks this spring he stood tall. Taller, even, than his listed 6 feet, 5 inches. He talked openly of how mental-health treatment and counseling changed his life.
He spoke of the “honor” of having “champions” as new teammates in Seattle. He talked of his chance following two surgeries since October, to prove the rest of the NFL is wrong is thinking he is finished as a player, after the New York Giants gave up on Marshall in April during his recoveries from toe and ankle surgeries.
But nothing Marshall said or did made him seem larger, meant more to him—and, he hopes, can potentially mean more to others—than his response when I asked him why he has chosen to take on society’s stigma over mental health. He’s done that though revealing interviews, essays and his nonprofit organization, Project 375.
“That’s easy,” Marshall said.
Then he told a story that is hard.
The veteran of 178 regular-season games for six NFL teams, of six 100-catch seasons, was diagnosed in 2011 with borderline personality disorder. That illness is known for causing impulsive behavior, wild mood swings and problems in relationships.
Marshall has had his share of headline-grabbing incidents not related to football.
SWOOPES BACK TO PRACTICE SQUAD
Official NFL transactions for Tuesday showed the Seahawks signed second-year tight end Tyrone Swoopes back onto their practice squad.
The team waived Swoopes Saturday in time to make room on the active roster for starting tight end Ed Dickson’s debut Sunday at Detroit.
Swoopes had his first career catch and first NFL start in Seattle’s previous game, Oct. 14 at London. The team signed him off its practice squad the day before that game.
The Seahawks signed the former University of Texas quarterback as an undrafted rookie free agent in the spring of 2017.