INDIANAPOLIS - Todd Bowles refused to commit to a future with Brandon Marshall on the Jets' roster when he met with the media on Thursday morning.
Now we know why.
The Jets have decided to release the 32-year-old receiver, a team source confirmed on Thursday night. The Jets were interested in bringing Marshall back and, according to one report, even offered him a contract extension. But a source said Marshall told the Jets he preferred to explore other options.
An official announcement is expected on Friday morning.
Given Marshall's age and the fact that he was coming off one of the worst seasons of his career, Marshall always appeared to be in danger of being released - especially since he was due to make $7.5 million in salary in 2017. The 6-4, 230-pounder, who'll turn 33 in three weeks, caught just 59 passes for 788 yards and three touchdowns last season as he battled through injuries and the Jets' quarterback mess.
Marshall also had issues in the locker room, including some memorable spats with some of his defensive teammates - most notably defensive end Sheldon Richardson. The Jets, though, apparently were unmoved by those issues and had hoped he'd return anyway to finish out the final year of his three-year, $26 million deal.
Instead, they'll now clear another $7.5 million off their books, increasing their available cap space to approximately $34 million. They likely won't have to use any of that to find Marshall's replacement either since they have a group of young receivers they love, including Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson, and Charone Peake.
The Jets also have Eric Decker, who could be another salary cap casualty. Decker is coming off hip and shoulder surgery and Bowles said on Thursday morning that "it's too early to tell" if he'll be ready for the start of training camp this summer. Decker is due $7.25 million in salary and carries a cap number of $8.75 million - which seems far too much for a player about to turn 30 who might not be ready to play in four months.
Marshall could now be a very interesting option for receiver-needy teams searching the free-agent market. The 11-year vet has been a star for most of his career, topping 100 catches six times and topping 1,000 yards eight times. In 2015, his first season with the Jets, he caught 109 passes for 1,502 yards and 14 touchdowns as he and Decker teamed up to be one of the most dangerous receiver duos in the league.