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Brandon Marshall has two things that were noticeably lacking in the Seattle Seahawks’ wide receiver corps before they agreed to terms with the six-time Pro Bowler on Tuesday: size at the top of the depth chart and experience on the back end of it.

He also has a 34-year-old body with 12 seasons of NFL wear and tear on it, including an ankle injury that limited him to five games and 18 catches last year with the New York Giants. That led them to release him last month with a failed-physical designation.

It’s no wonder that Seattle’s addition of Marshall appears to be on the lower end of the risk spectrum.
At 6-foot-4, Brandon Marshall gives Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson a big target. Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports
While the full details have yet to emerge, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that Marshall’s one-year contract can be worth up to $2 million if incentives are reached. The minimum salary for a player who has been around as long as Marshall has is $1.015 million, so the signing bonus is apparently under $1 million. For context, the max value of $2 million is a fraction of the $11.5 million that Doug Baldwin makes on average, and it’s less than the $2.75 million the Seahawks will pay in 2018 to Jaron Brown, who is also in the mix to be one of their top three receivers.

Signing Brown (6-foot-3, 204 pounds) and Marshall (6-4, 230) gives Russell Wilson a pair of big targets to go along with Baldwin and Tyler Lockett, who are both 5-foot-10 and less than 200 pounds. Those additions came after Seattle brought in Terrelle Pryor Sr. (6-4) for a free-agent visit and reportedly had one scheduled with Jordy Nelson (6-3) before he signed with Oakland. It doesn’t seem like a coincidence that the Seahawks’ interest in big-bodied receivers comes after their passing game lost its biggest body when they let tight end Jimmy Graham — he of 10 red-zone touchdowns last season — leave for Green Bay.

Marshall becomes the 12th receiver on Seattle’s roster, though one could be waived to make room. Had they not signed Marshall or another available veteran, the Seahawks would have been counting on one or more of their unproven youngsters to contribute to the rotation in 2018. It’s a group that has plenty of potential but not much production to this point in their respective careers. In fact, the trio of Tanner McEvoy (14), Amara Darboh (eight) and Marcus Johnson (five) have combined for 27 receptions while the others behind Baldwin, Lockett, Brown and now Marshall — i.e. David Moore, Cyril Grayson Jr., Damore’ea Stringfellow, Keenan Reynolds and Caleb Scott — don’t have any.

Marshall, meanwhile, has six seasons of at least 100 receptions, the most in NFL history per ESPN Stats & Information research. He has topped 1,000 yards eight times, most recently in 2015, when he also finished in a tie for the league lead with 14 touchdown catches. His numbers dropped considerably in 2016 — 59 catches, 788 yards, three touchdowns — but Seattle’s offense would gladly take that type of production in 2018 if Marshall could replicate it.
At his age, Marshall doesn’t offer Seattle much long-term upside, and therein lies a drawback to signing him even at a rate that protects the team from any substantial financial risk. There are only so many game snaps and practice reps to go around, especially with the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement considerably reducing the amount of on-field work teams can do each offseason. Any time that Marshall gets in practice or games is time that one of Seattle’s younger receivers doesn’t get. That had to be a consideration, particularly with regards to Darboh (2017 third-round pick), Moore (’17 seventh-rounder) and Johnson (acquired from Philadelphia in the Michael Bennett trade).

But if one of those receivers plays well enough to beat out Marshall for the fifth or sixth roster spot — depending on how many Seattle keeps — it’ll be a good sign for the long-term future of the position. And if Marshall makes the team, it’ll mean he showed enough over the summer to convince the Seahawks that he still has something left in the tank.

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INDIANAPOLIS — Colts general manager Chis Ballard showed up for a news conference Wednesday — just not the one he expected.

Instead of introducing Josh McDaniels as the team’s new head coach, Ballard stood in front of reporters trying to explain why New England’s longtime offensive co-ordinator reneged on a deal he initially accepted.
But if Ballard’s disgust about losing his top choice wasn’t clear from the occasional glare or the strong pitch in his voice, he left no doubt with one parting shot.

“The rivalry is back on,” he said before leaving.

Conducting a coaching search in February isn’t what Ballard or Indy envisioned when Chuck Pagano was fired just hours after Indy completed a 4-12 season on Dec. 31.

Exactly 24 hours after announcing McDaniels’ hiring on the team’s Twitter account and roughly 16 hours after he called back to tell Ballard he was out, the search begins anew for the jilted Colts.

Their other finalist, Mike Vrabel, has already taken the Tennessee job. Another top-tier candidate, Mike Nagy, has already been hired in Chicago. Baylor coach Matt Rhule, who also interviewed for the job, is back on campus getting ready for spring football. And it’s unclear where the Colts may turn next.

“We have a list of candidates, I’ve had them from the get-go,” Ballard said. “There are other guys we wanted to interview, but because of the playoffs, we weren’t able to.

“We’ll move forward with them and we will get the right leader for the Indianapolis Colts — one that believes what we believe and wants to go where we want to go. I’m very confident in this.”

Ballard didn’t name names, of course, nor did he provide a timetable.

Oddly, the timing could present Indy with a unique opportunity to pick off a candidate who might emerge as a top candidate on next year’s coaching carousel.

Several possibilities exist including Philadelphia Eagles offensive co-ordinator Frank Reich, who was part of a Super Bowl victory over the Patriots with a backup quarterback.

The good news for Indy is that the only coaching vacancy still looks pretty attractive — if Andrew Luck is healthy.

Indy still has Pro Bowl receiver T.Y. Hilton, Pro Bowl tight end Jack Doyle, a revamped defence that showed major improvement as last season went along, the No. 3 pick in the draft and about $80 million to spend in free agency.

Luck, meanwhile, continues to be the big question as he rehabs from last January’s surgery for a partially torn labrum in his throwing shoulder.

Some believe McDaniels’ sudden change of heart was related to doubts about Luck’s health.

Ballard didn’t bother asking McDaniels why he made the decision.

On Wednesday, though, he attempted to alleviate lingering concerns about Luck while acknowledging the franchise quarterback still hasn’t thrown a football since returning from Europe late last year.

“At this point, we feel very strongly that Andrew is in a good place. He doesn’t need surgery,” Ballard said. “I have not gotten that from the two doctors that he’s seen here after the season. His strength is good. He’s working on his throwing motion and he’s working on his arm speed right now. He has not picked up a football, but he is throwing balls, working on arm speed.

“He’s going to do everything right to get himself ready to play and I’m very confident, he’s very confident, that he’s going to come back and prove a lot of people wrong,” Ballard added.

McDaniels decision didn’t just leave the Colts in the lurch.

Three assistant coaches — Matt Eberflus, Mike Phair and Dave DeGuglielmo — had already been hired in Indy.

While Ballard said he likes all three and will honour their contracts by keeping them on the next coach’s staff, others strongly criticized McDaniels from walking away from them.

“Haven’t read the article but I can tell you there is NO excuse big enough to justify this,” Dungy wrote on Twitter in response to a story that indicated McDaniels stayed with the Pats because he was more comfortable with the team.

“It’s one thing to go back on your word to an organization. But having assistant coaches leave jobs to go with you then leave them out to dry is indefensible.”

But as the news conference continued, Ballard said people say no to job offers every day, he wished McDaniels well at the end of Tuesday night’s brief call and that his primary concern now is finding someone who wants the job.

“To me, it’s about being right,” Ballard said. “You’ve got to be right. It doesn’t matter if you’re the first out of the box and everybody praises you or you are the last one to make the hire. We want to be right.”