Marshall, whose agreement with the Giants was first reported by Newsday, was due to make $7.5 million with the Jets this season in the final year of a three-year, $26 million contract he had signed with them in 2015. But after a miserable, injury-plagued season, in which he caught just 59 passes for 788 yards and three touchdowns, he was too expensive for the salary cap-strapped Jets.
After discussions with the Jets about a restructured deal, Marshall was released last Friday, making him immediately available to any team.
The Giants' bid for Marshall was an intriguing move, especially since they are not entering free agency with much salary cap space at all. The NFL Players Association listed them with just over $11 million in cap room as of Wednesday morning. The full details of Marshall's deal weren't immediately available, but it surely will eat up a significant chunk of that space.
The Giants are expected to make several more moves to clear a little more salary cap space. A source confirmed they were in talks with the agents for receiver/kick returner Dwayne Harris to restructure his deal - likely a straight pay cut. ESPN reported that if an agreement wasn't reached, Harris could be cut - odd since he's only due to make $2.975 million in salary in 2017, and cutting him would clear just $1.4 million in cap space.
Regardless, the Giants had the cap room for Marshall, and they obviously had a need given how their offense struggled last season. They also had a vacancy for an outside receiver after releasing Victor Cruz last month.
And Marshall, despite his age and his poor 2016 performance, can certainly help the Giants' offense. In 2015 he had a remarkable season for the Jets, catching 109 passes for 1502 yards and 14 touchdowns. In his 11 NFL seasons he's topped 100 catches six times and 1,000 yards eight times. The Giants also really haven't had a receiver his size since the days of the 6-3 Amani Toomer and the 6-5 Plaxico Burress. That's been an issue, especially in the red zone, and because the book on Eli Manning is that when he's off-target his passes are usually high.
Marshall does come with some issues, though. He's a high-profile, outspoken player. He's also one of the stars of Showtime's Inside the NFL, where he's not afraid to speak his mind. Presumably the Giants will let him continue to appear on that show, though there's a logistical issue since it tapes on Tuesdays which is a work day on Ben McAdoo's schedule.
Marshall also was often at the center of some locker room turmoil with the Jets last season and had some battles with defensive teammates - most notably Sheldon Richardson. Some in the Giants, though, think he could be a good influence for them, particularly for the volatile and often controversial Odell Beckham. The two of them spoke last season when Beckham's on-field behavior again seemed to be on the verge of getting out of control. Marshall had similar issues earlier in his career as he struggled to deal with his quick rise to stardom and has offered to counsel Beckham in the past.
The best thing he can do for Beckham - and slot receiver Sterling Shepard - is to rediscover his old form and draw defensive coverage in his direction. The hope is that with his sizable presence on the outside the Giants could finally have the Big Three receiving corps that they've been bragging about having for years.