Why wouldn't Pats target Marshall?

With the Dolphins acquiring receiver Brandon Marshall from the Broncos for a 2010 second-round draft choice and what is believed to be a 2011 second-round draft choice (according to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter), some might ask the question why the Patriots wouldn’t make such a deal.

Here are two main factors that they might have been thinking:

Locker room chemistry. Part of the reason the Broncos were dealing Marshall was because of off-field distractions. Head coach Josh McDaniels said at the NFL combine that one of his main hopes for 2010 was to have fewer internal disruptions, which he felt derailed the Broncos' once-promising 2009 season. McDaniels butted heads with Marshall, benching him at the end of last season. The Patriots are in a similar situation with their own internal dynamics and adding a player like Marshall probably represented too much risk for them based on the present makeup of their team.

Economics. Acquiring Marshall means more than just giving up draft picks. It would also require a lucrative long-term extension, probably in the $8 million per season range. So if the Patriots made that move, they would be paying Marshall more than Randy Moss and Wes Welker. Understanding that players keep score of these things, and that they are operating under a budget which would make it challenging to put Moss’s and Welker’s pay in line with Marshall, likely made the move a non-starter because it threatened the goal of a harmonious locker room. It's the same reason the Patriots were never in serious contention for Julius Peppers on the free-agent market. Bill Belichick wasn't going to bring a player into the locker room from another team that made more than every player on the roster.