Brandon Marshall wanted the chance to make a Super Bowl run. And now he’s got a quarterback who can pull it off.
Less than a week after the Jets granted his request to be released, the wide receiver found a new NFL home — conveniently located in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
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A source told Newsday that Marshall signed a two-year, $12-million deal with the Giants on Wednesday, giving him the opportunity to line up with Odell Beckham Jr. and catch passes from Eli Manning.
“No, they definitely did not offer me the most money. It probably was the least amount of money,” Marshall said with a laugh during a conference call. “It was all about a championship. They presented the best opportunity to be in a championship organization.”
Funny enough, he missed the Giants’ initial overture.
Marshall said he didn’t see the text message general manager Jerry Reese sent him Sunday until after he had attended church, ate brunch with the family and took his kids to the pool. “My agent was blowing up my phone like, ‘Dude, where are you?’ ” he joked.
Though the NFL’s free-agency period officially begins at 4 p.m. Thursday, Marshall was able to sign because he was released from his contract with the Jets last week. He has his sights set on a bright future in blue.
“Eli is already on me about getting together in the beginning of April with a few of the other guys,” said Marshall, who called the Giants “the perfect situation for me” and highlighted the organization’s “stability in ownership.”
Marshall, who turns 33 March 23, is on his fifth team entering his 12th season and has yet to make the playoffs. But this time, Marshall won’t have to relocate. Plus, the Giants boast everything the Jets don’t have: a two-time Super Bowl MVP quarterback, a top-five defense and one of the most talented No. 1 receivers in the game in Beckham.
At the conclusion of the Jets’ 5-11 season, Marshall said he’d “probably play until I’m 38, 39.” But he made it known his more pressing goal was to play for a Super Bowl contender.
“The way I approach it is being able to have a real shot at it,’’ he said Wednesday, “and that is what I think I have here.”
The Giants — who bested Tom Brady and the Patriots in Super Bowls XLII and XLVI — ended their five-year playoff drought in 2016 but lost to the Packers, 38-13, in a wild-card game.
Playing for Ben McAdoo’s team also ensures that Marshall will be able to continue his media career in the Big Apple, but instead of taping his regular spot on Showtime’s “Inside the NFL,” he’ll be a weekly guest of WFAN host Mike Francesa.
The Jets’ plan all along was to rebuild by releasing high-priced veterans this offseason, but all the while the front office viewed Marshall as part of its future in 2017. According to a source, the sides discussed a contract extension before this past season and revisited the topic midway through the year. But even though the Jets had hoped to retain Marshall, the organization allowed him to find “a better fit,” as Newsday reported last week.
The Jets’ roster remains in flux as the organization looks to fill holes left by big-name departures through free agency and the NFL draft. Marshall’s release saved the Jets $7.5 million in salary-cap space, though he’ll count $1.875 million against the cap in dead money.
After trading for the former Bear in March 2015, the Jets seemed poised for a playoff run. He set franchise records for receiving yards (1,502), catches (109) and touchdowns (14) in 2015 and earned his sixth Pro Bowl selection. But their playoff hopes were dashed in a season-finale loss at Buffalo. Things got worse in 2016, when Marshall’s production also plummeted, with 59 catches for 788 yards and three TDs.
“It was extremely hard,” he said of requesting his release from the Jets, “because we went into last year with high expectations and really believing that that was our moment, and the wheels fell off.”