I apologize in advance for what I'm about to talk about. I know it's NFL Draft week and our focus should be on that exciting three day event. But this story is just too big to ignore. After all, we're talking about the biggest super star on the Miami Dolphins here; a player that the team has invested a lot in.
I also know that this entire situation could have turned out far worse. Rather than talking about how long it might take Brandon Marshall to recover from being stabbed in the gut by his wife, we could have easily been talking about a tragedy of far greater magnitude. In a perfect world, we'd simply all be discussing how lucky Brandon is to come out of this relatively unharmed (all things considered, of course).
But we don't live in a perfect world. And the National Football League is far from it. As this lockout proves, the NFL is a business. Each franchise is run as such and in every business, information must be gathered and decisions must be made - no matter how insensitive they may be.
So while we are all happy to hear that Brandon will make a full recovery and has not suffered any critical or long-term injuries, there are still serious questions that the Miami Dolphins must face as they move on from this weekend's shocking event and prepare for the future. These are questions that we in the public may never know the answers to. But they are questions that the "powers that be" within the organization must attempt to answer as best they can as they move forward.
1. What exactly went on Friday night within the walls of the Marshall household?
Let's face it - a wife typically doesn't pick up a kitchen knife and jab it into her husband's abdomen very often for no good reason. Generally, that kind of action is provoked by something. Brandon's wife told police that her attack on Marshall was self-defense. She claims this despite having no obvious signs of physical harm on her body while Brandon has not only stab wounds to his mid-section but also defensive wounds on his hands.
My job, though, isn't to play investigator. The Dolphins shouldn't have to, either. But they will be forced to find out what the hell happened prior to the stabbing. Why? Because Brandon already has two strikes against him in terms of the NFL's personal conduct policy. A third strike would result in a 16 game suspension for the star receiver.
While it appears Marshall is the victim here, the Dolphins will still feel uneasy about the situation until they find out the facts of what went on leading up to the stabbing and how the NFL plans to deal with the situation - if at all.
Of cours, until the lockout ends, the Dolphins will not know the NFL's official position on the issue - making planning for the future even more complicated.
2. Would the Dolphins consider cutting ties with Brandon Marshall?
While I admit this would be a gigantic mistake by the Dolphins, you have to wonder if the team is at least considering the idea of releasing Marshall. Why would they do this? As has been well documented, the Dolphins have a clause in Brandon's contract that would allow them to void the remaining years and dollars owed in exchange for a $3 million buyout.
But just because the team has the option doesn't mean they will make the move - or even consider it. That's why I'm very happy to pass along the report from Armando Salguero that claims "the Dolphins currently, today, at this hour, have zero intention to get rid of Brandon Marshall. They aren't walking away from the investment that easily."
But that doesn't mean the Dolphins wouldn't consider releasing him as they learn more information about the situation.
"The Dolphins are wary of this current episode," writes Salguero. "They are sending Marshall messages of support through intermediaries. They want him to know they have his back. They want him and others to understand Marshall was the alleged victim here."
"But the Dolphins are also eager to learn more about what, if anything, caused the stabbing incident in which Michi Nogami-Marshall plunged a kitchen knife into Marshall's abdomen, confessed to the crime, and stated she was acting in self-defense."
Just keep this in the very back of your mind as we move forward.
3. How will this incident impact the Dolphins' draft this week?
The Dolphins had a need for a speed receiver to stretch the field before Marshall was stabbed this past weekend. So the Dolphins selecting a receiver at some point during the draft isn't an indictment of Marshall and probably was a decision made prior to this past weekend.
But as Dave Hyde astutely points out, you have to wonder if the Dolphins will not shy away from players with "character concern" in light of this past weekend's events in the Marshall home. After all, trading for Brandon and signing him to a huge contract extension was really the lone risk that this regime has taken in terms of investing in a player with obvious "off-the-field concerns."
That one risk almost came back to bite the Dolphins in the butt this weekend. Would the team now consider drafting a player with those dreaded "character red flags" at some point in this week's draft? Take Ryan Mallett, for example. He's likely a kid that would require a first-round investment. He's also a kid who some have serious concerns about off the field.
Having nearly gotten burned once already on essentially their only off-field risk, would Stephen Ross, Jeff Ireland, and Tony Sparano sign off on investing even more assets into yet another potential risk? Or will the ultra-conservative nature of this regime take an even stronger hold now?