(Apparently there is plenty of empty space up there.)
We'll get to how Marshall fits into offensive coordinator Mike Tice's downfield scheme. We'll hit the disappearance of another excuse for quarterback Jay Cutler, whom the Bears have now paired with his favorite receiver (Marshall) and assistant coach (Jeremy Bates). But my top thought was crystallized by a tweet from former Bears safety Chris Harris:
"What am I missing here....3 pro bowls, five 1000 yard seasons and 27 yrs old"
Indeed, how could one of the best receivers in the NFL be available for a third-round draft pick in 2012 and another third-rounder in 2013? Is new general manager Phil Emery that good of a negotiator? Did the Miami Dolphins, as rumored, feel pressured to ship him out as they recruit free agent quarterback Peyton Manning? Or is there something else about Marshall that we don't know about?
There's little doubt Marshall has had his share of off-field issues, culminating with his August 2011 diagnosis of a condition known as " borderline personality disorder." Cutler criticized him in 2008 after a domestic accident, and multiple Denver media outlets reported Marshall had an intense confrontation with Bates behind closed doors in 2007.
Marshall also has 26 drops since 2008, the third-highest total among NFL receivers over that span.
That's the long and the short of the dirt we can quickly dig up on Marshall. His personality might cause some concern, but he'll have a pretty decent support system in Chicago. So unless there is something further behind the scenes, the Bears got Marshall for a steal. He'll turn 28 later this month, and thus remains in his athletic prime. He made it through the 2011 season without any major offseason issues and his past production with Cutler — 206 completions, 2,796 yards and 13 touchdowns from 2007-08 — is undeniable.
Like Chris Harris, I'm going back through the parameters here and wondering how it all adds up. Did the Bears luck into the circumstances of a new coach (Joe Philbin) willing to clear the decks for his new program? I don't know, and I'm guessing the Bears don't care. More to come.