The Bears acquired one of the best receivers in the NFL Tuesday, sending two third-round draft picks to the Miami Dolphins for Pro Bowler Brandon Marshall.
Honestly, this trade almost seems too good to be true. All it took to get a legit No. 1 receiver was two third-round picks? Really? Seriously? Why didn't the Bears do this years ago? Why was Miami so eager to part with an elite talent like Marshall?
On second thought, who the hell cares? This is a great move for the Bears. Marshall will be reunited with quarterback Jay Cutler. The two were together in Denver in 2007 and 2008. During that time, Marshall caught 206 passes for 2,590 yards and 13 touchdowns.
By way of comparison, Johnny Knox -- previously the best Bears wide receiver -- totaled 88 receptions for 1,687 yards and seven touchdowns over the last two years.
Yeah, Marshall will be by far the Bears' best receiver the minute he walks through the locker room door. His salary is reasonable for his production level, too. Marshall signed a five-year, $47 million contract in 2010. That's $9.4 million per year, which is significantly less than top free agent receiver Vincent Jackson will get on the open market.
Add in the fact that Marshall is two years younger than Jackson and already has good chemistry with Cutler and you'll see this is a steal for the Bears.
Here's the thing I like best about Marshall: He's 6-foot-4, 230 pounds. He can make a play for you in traffic. He's a big target that's useful in the red zone. He has a wide catching radius, unlike all these undersized fleas the Bears have employed at wide receiver over the last few years.
With a guy like Devin Hester, Cutler has to put the ball right on his hands or else he won't make the play. With Marshall, Cutler doesn't have to be so pinpoint. Marshall will go get the ball for you. That makes a big difference for a quarterback.
Of course, this move doesn't instantly make the Bears a Super Bowl contender. There is still much work to be done. The offensive line has at least two holes on it. Another receiver to complement Marshall wouldn't hurt. How about another pass rusher to play opposite Julius Peppers? Or another cornerback to play opposite Charles Tillman? Then, there's the revolving door the Bears have had at safety for years.
I wouldn't print any playoff tickets yet, let alone Super Bowl tickets. However, there's no arguing the acquisition of Marshall is a home run for new Bears GM Phil Emery. It's a good first move on the road back to competitiveness in the increasingly tough NFC North.