Posted: 3:20 pm Saturday, April 23rd, 2011

Language in Brandon Marshall’s contract could save Dolphins millions if they decide to part ways 

By Post Staff

The Dolphins gave Brandon Marshall a new five-year contract worth a total value of $50 million, with $24 million guaranteed, when they traded for him last summer. But the Dolphins also protected themselves in case Marshall, who had a lengthy rap sheet in his four seasons in Denver, got himself in trouble.

According to a copy of the contract terms obtained by the Post, the Dolphins could part ways with Marshall this offseason after having paid him just $12.5 million. He earned $4 million in salary in 2010, received a $5.5 million signing bonus when he signed the contract last April and has a $3 million offset bonus due if he is cut this offseason.

The contract contains a key date — April 2, 2011. If Marshall is on the roster on that date, then the guaranteed money he is set to receive for the next two years — $6.5 million this year, $6 million next year, plus another $3 million bonus — becomes fully guaranteed. But if he is waived by April 2, then he only receives the $3 million offset bonus.

Of course, April 2 has already come and gone. But that April 2 date is less important than what it was supposed to represent — 30 days after the start of the 2011 league year, which was supposed to start March 4 but did not because of the NFL lockout.

It is likely that whenever the lockout ends and the NFL league year begins, the Dolphins will have a 30-day window to decide if they want to keep Marshall. If they cut Marshall, they pay him $12.5 million for one year of service, in which he caught 87 passes for 1,014 yards and three touchdowns in 14 games. If they keep him, they will owe him a total $25 million over three seasons. Marshall also has salaries of $9.1 million due for 2013 and 2014.

The Dolphins have not given any indication that they would part ways with Marshall, but last night’s stabbing incident highlights the type of situations the team wanted to protect itself against when it signed the contract.

Though Marshall is the victim this time, he is not out of hot water yet. According to the arrest report, he initially lied to police about what happened, saying that he injured himself after falling on broken glass. Only after police officers didn’t find any blood in the area did his wife, Michi Nogami-Marshall, tell police that she had stabbed her husband. And she said she did it in self-defense.

A spokeswoman from the Broward Sheriff’s Office said she did not have details Saturday about whether authorities will investigate Marshall for lying in his sworn statement.

In addition to Friday night’s incident, Marshall was difficult to handle last year, several team sources have said, and he was involved in several shouting matches on the sideline with quarterback Chad Henne and former quarterbacks coach David Lee toward the end of the season.

According to a recent article in Sports Illustrated, the Dolphins have tested several NFL Draft quarterback prospects to see how they would deal with an irate receiver. In the mock scenario, the outraged receiver, played by offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, grows violently upset and yells at the quarterback for not throwing him the ball enough. General manager Jeff Ireland said Thursday that all of the quarterback prospects were put through the same scenario.


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