New York (AFP) – Brandon Marshall, a 13-year NFL receiver, signed Monday with the New Orleans Saints after their record-setting romp over Cincinnati that cost Bengals’ defensive coordinator Teryl Austin his job.
The Saints improved to 8-1 this season with a 51-14 rout of the Bengals on Sunday, an eighth consecutive victory lifting New Orleans just behind Kansas City and the Los Angeles Rams, both 9-1, for the NFL’s best record.
Marshall has compiled 970 receptions for 12,351 yards and 83 touchdowns with Denver, Miami, Chicago, the New York Jets, the New York Giants and Seattle, where he has 11 catches for 136 yards and a touchdown before being released last month.
At 34, Marshall will provide Saints quarterback Drew Brees a top target opposite team receptions leader Michael Thomas.
New Orleans had auditioned Marshall last week before selecting Dez Bryant, only to have the former Dallas Cowboys receiver suffer a torn Achilles tendon on the final play of practice last week, ending his season before it began and opening a spot for Marshall.
“He’s smart, he’s experienced. He has been in a number of systems and overall had a good workout,” Saints coach Sean Payton said. “He has got good length and size. He’s another big target. We’ll see how it goes here this week and what our plans are.”
The Bengals axed Austin after becoming the first NFL team in more than half a century to surrender more than 500 yards in three games in a row, announcing that head coach Marvin Lewis — a 2001 Super Bowl champion defensive coordinator with Baltimore — would guide the defensive unit.
Austin, the second Bengals defensive coordinator fired in as many seasons, saw his unit surrender the most points of any game since 2007 as Cincinnati suffered its most lopsided home loss.
Despite a third defeat in four games, the Bengals are 5-4 and level with Tennessee for the last playoff spot in the American Conference.
“This football team has a real chance to get back to playing winning football so we can compete for the playoffs and that’s our sole focus,” Lewis said.
Lewis, 60, figures to have his job on the line as well. He has guided the Bengals since 2003 and his 15 seasons without a playoff win match Jim Mora’s NFL record.
Lewis has a record seven playoff losses without a win in his Bengals tenure. Cincinnati has missed the playoffs the past two seasons.