Brandon Marshall addition is like Dez Bryant, but with less risk, less reward

Clark, Schefter have differing views on Saints (1:34)

Ryan Clark and Adam Schefter debate whether the Saints are the best team in the NFL. (1:34)

METAIRIE, La. -- The Brandon Marshall signing feels an awful lot like last week's Dez Bryant signing for the New Orleans Saints.

Big name, big personality, big-time résumé and a big body who could help in the red zone while playing a smaller, supporting role.

But Marshall, 34, just comes with a little less mystery and intrigue. For better and for worse. Unlike the 30-year-old Bryant, who spent the whole season out of the NFL before joining the Saints last week and tearing his Achilles tendon two days later, Marshall spent the first eight weeks of this season and all of training camp with the Seattle Seahawks.

So it's easier to picture him contributing right away -- perhaps as early as Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles (4:25 p.m. ET, Fox) if the Saints feel he can get acclimated to the playbook quickly enough.

But it's harder to get excited that the 6-foot-5, 232-pounder could experience some sort of major breakthrough or career resurgence in New Orleans, since his production has tailed off so drastically over the past three seasons with the New York Jets, New York Giants and Seahawks.

Marshall caught just 11 passes for 136 yards and one touchdown before being phased out of Seattle's rotation. Last season was much of the same, when Marshall caught just 18 passes for 154 yards with zero touchdowns in five games for the Giants before landing on injured reserve with an ankle injury.

The last time Marshall had a standout season was 2015 with the Jets, when he had 109 catches for 1,502 yards and 14 touchdowns and earned his sixth career Pro Bowl invitation.

Still, with all of that being said, if Marshall is going to make it work anywhere, it's probably in New Orleans.

For one thing, Marshall finally has a chance to play in a playoff game for the first time in his 13-year career, spent now with seven different teams (the Broncos, Bears, Dolphins, Jets, Giants, Seahawks and Saints). And he is joining coach Sean Payton and Drew Brees, who are well into their second decade as two of the best offensive conductors in NFL history.

The 8-1 Saints have won eight straight, and they are playing as well as they ever have on offense, leading the NFL with 36.7 points per game after scoring 96 over the past two weeks (a 45-35 home win against the Rams and a 51-14 road rout in Cincinnati).

And yet, the Saints are doing it with very little depth in their receiving corps.

No. 1 receiver Michael Thomas has been a monster. He is tied for the NFL lead with 78 catches through nine games. But he remains the only wide receiver on New Orleans' roster with more than 12 catches this season after Ted Ginn Jr., Cameron Meredith and Bryant were all placed on injured reserve over the past month.

Most likely, the Saints will find a package of plays where Marshall helps in the red zone or on third downs. Although he hasn't been able to get as much separation from defenders in recent years, he still has terrific size that defenses will have to account for.

When asked if that was the "type" that drew the Saints to both Marshall and Bryant, Payton said, "Yeah, I thought size was important, but experience and someone that we felt had strong hands."

"He moved around well," Payton said of Marshall's workout last Tuesday. "He's smart, he's experienced, he's someone that's been in a number of systems. And overall he had a good workout. He's got good length and size. He's another big target."

Marshall will have to jockey for playing time with rookie Tre'Quan Smith, second-year pro Austin Carr and undrafted Keith Kirkwood among others. And Payton said Sunday he expects both Ginn and receiver/return specialist Tommylee Lewis to return from injured reserve this season.

But the No. 2 and No. 3 receiver roles are still wide open if Marshall proves worthy.

Marshall admittedly came with character concerns earlier in his career but has talked in recent years about working hard to be a better person and teammate as he has matured. Although he did have a well-publicized rift with Jets defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson, he has mostly been praised as a good teammate and veteran leader by teammates, coaches and observers.

In fact, Marshall was credited for helping to mentor current Saints cornerback Eli Apple when Apple was going through a tough year with the Giants in 2017.

The Saints players will likely welcome the chance to work with a proven star such as Marshall -- much like they did with Bryant last week, embracing him so quickly that they were honoring him with their touchdown celebrations throughout the victory at Cincinnati.

Nothing is better for locker room chemistry than being an 8-1 team with a Super Bowl in its sights.