It appears Denver Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall is contemplating an offseason holdout.
A restricted free agent, Marshall received a second-round tender from the Broncos that would pay him a one-year, $2.553 million salary in 2016. Marshall may skip the Broncos’ offseason program that begins April 18 in hopes of leveraging a multiyear contract extension.
Asked directly by 9NEWS if Marshall would hold out from the Broncos’ offseason program, the linebacker and his agent Drew Rosenhaus separately texted they could not comment. Read into those non-denials what you will.
Marshall, 26, could hold out without penalty until June 15, at which point the Broncos would have the right to re-tender him at a drastically reduced rate of $643,500 (110 percent of his previous year’s $585,000 salary). Not that the Broncos would take such a measure, but they would have that right. The Broncos are expected to hold their mandatory team mini-camp around that June 15 date.
This is a case where a player may feel punished by love. The Broncos had two restricted free agents this offseason: Marshall and running back C.J. Anderson. The team demonstrated a higher regard for Marshall by giving him the second-round tender of $2.553 million while only issuing the low, right-of-first refusal tender of $1.671 million to Anderson.
But because opposing teams didn’t have to surrender a draft pick for signing Anderson away, the running back was in heavy demand. Several teams submitted multiyear contract proposals to Anderson before he decided to sign a four-year, $18 million offer sheet with the Miami Dolphins.
The Broncos matched that offer to keep Anderson. He will $6 million in 2016 – including a $5.225 million roster bonus that will be deposited into his bank account Thursday. Besides Anderson, Marshall also saw his former inside linebacker partner Danny Trevathan receive a four-year contract from the Chicago Bears that will pay him $10.1 million in 2016.
Trevathan, though, was an unrestricted free agent. Marshall has learned just how restrictive a second-round tendered free agent is as he has received no competing offers. Teams simply do not want to give up a second-round draft pick to sign him away.
A fifth-round selection of the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2012 draft, Marshall was cut three times before the start of his second season. He re-signed twice with Jacksonville but after he was waived prior to the team setting its opening-day, 53-man roster, Marshall signed with the Broncos.
He spent the first 16 weeks (15 games) of the 2013 season on the Broncos’ practice squad, then got a final-game promotion to the 53-man roster. He became a starter in 2014-15 and compiled a team-most 215 tackles in that span.
Marshall was recovering from foot surgery at this time last year and didn’t start practicing until a couple weeks into training camp. He still wound up playing at a high level last season, starting 19 games including the team’s Super Bowl 50 win, so Marshall may feel he has nothing to lose by skipping this year’s offseason program.