Keep or Cut? Brandon Marshall

MIAMI - SEPTEMBER 26: Receiver Brandon Marshall #19 of the Miami Dolphins celebrates a touchdown against the New York Jets at Sun Life Stadium on September 26 2010 in Miami Florida. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)

Last week, 55% of the fans who voted were in favor of releasing cornerback Benny Sapp. To kick things off this week, I'm going to approach a more controversial - and likely unpopular - topic.

Despite the NFL lockout, Dolphins wide receiver Brandon Marshall has managed to remain in the headlines - but not for positive reasons. To say Brandon has had a tumultuous offseason would be an understatement. And now the Miami Dolphins might just be wondering if the two second round picks surrendered to Denver and the boatloads of cash handed to Marshall were good investments.

Brandon Marshall, Wide Receiver

Why the Dolphins should keep him

This answer is pretty obvious. When he's right - both physically and mentally - there isn't a more dominant receiver in the NFL than Brandon Marshall. His record-breaking 21 reception performance as a member of the Broncos in 2009 is proof of that. In fact, Marshall has two of the top four single game receiving performances of all time, with a 18-166-1 performance on opening weekend in 2008 to go with his 21-200-2 performance in 2009.

While we haven't seen that kind of performance in Miami just yet, he did show brief glimpses of that Brandon Marshall during his first year in Miami. His first home game in Miami last year, Marshall flashed that brilliance in a Monday night loss to the Jets, catching 10 passes for 166 yards and a touchdown. Two games later, Marshall's 10 catch, 127 yard performance in Green Bay helped the Dolphins defeat the eventual Super Bowl champion Packers.

Marshall also closed the season by tallying 26 receptions for 305 yards and a touchdown over the final three weeks of the season, which many fans - including myself - was hoping would be a sign of things to come in 2011 and beyond.

Why the Dolphins should cut him

This answer is pretty obvious, too. Right or wrong, trouble just seems to follow around Brandon Marshall. Now this latest saga with his wife just refuses to go away.

Seven weeks to the day that Marshall was stabbed by his wife in their home, Brandon's wife was again arrested - this time for violating a restraining order that restricts her from any contact with Brandon and from coming within 500 feet of their home in South Florida. On Friday, she violated both terms by being in the home when Brandon returned to the residence after spending some time away. The police report claims that a "verbal dispute" also ensued prior to the police arriving.

Beyond just the mental distraction and pain this must be causing Marshall, the Dolphins now also have to worry about what the league might investigate once this lockout is over. Just as with the original stabbing incident, Brandon again refuses to cooperate with police. While that isn't illegal by any means, Commissioner Roger Goodell said earlier this offseason that the league does "expect" its players to cooperate in all investigations. Whether or not this could be yet another strike against Brandon in regards to the league's personal conduct policy is unknown.

What is known is that Marshall can sometimes become a distraction on and off the field. And now the Dolphins have to decide if the financial risk is worth the possible rewards - which can obviously be great. The financial breakdown is simple. The Dolphins will have a 30 day window from the start of the league year to release Marshall with no long-term financial impact. The Dolphins can essentially exercise a clause in his contract and buy Marshall out for $3 million - meaning they would have paid him $12.5 million for his one season. If they don't, they will owe Brandon $25 million over the next three seasons according to the Palm Beach Post.

That essentially becomes the big question for the Dolphins. Is Brandon Marshall - and all the baggage that comes as part of the package - worth the financial investment the team will commit to over the next several years?

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