Baltimore Ravens star quarterback Lamar Jackson made it clear he was strongly against a trade idea proposed by ESPN’s Bill Barnwell that would send Ravens wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown to the Kansas City Chiefs.
“I wonder if the Chiefs call the Ravens about Marquise Brown,” Barnwell tweeted on March 23, shortly after Kansas City sent Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins in exchange for five draft picks, including the 29th overall pick in the 2022 NFL draft.
Barnwell added shortly after his tweet that his idea was the “rare suggestion where fans of both teams either immediately want to desperately make this trade and have absolutely no interest in this trade.” It seems Jackson fell into the latter category. He and Brown enjoy a strong friendship with a connection dating back to the same South Florida Pop Warner youth football league.
Brown even told Bleacher Report’s Eric Dunne in May 2020 that Jackson played a major role in Baltimore’s decision to draft the Oklahoma standout:
Exactly one year ago, Brown reveals, the Ravens asked Jackson who he wanted as his No. 1 receiver. Jackson told them either Brown in that draft or Jerry Jeudy the following year. So before that 2019 draft, Jackson let Brown know via text: “We’re coming to get you.”
Ravens Unlikely to Trade Brown
It’s unclear if the Ravens would even be interested in dealing Brown, as general manager Eric DeCosta already confirmed on February 4 that the team plans to pick up the 24-year-old wideout’s fifth-year option.
DeCosta answered an initial question about the option so quickly that ESPN’s Jamison Hensley followed up, asking the longtime Ravens executive about his “thoughts on Marquise’s development” and his confidence in keeping Brown through the 2024 season.
First, Decosta noted that Brown was his first draft pick after being named the Ravens’ general manager in 2019, adding, “I think very highly of Marquise. I think he’s a talent. I love his personality and his competitiveness and his passion.”
DeCosta then noted Brown’s third-year breakout in 2021, which featured a career-high 91 receptions and 1,008 receiving yards. His off-field relationship with Jackson shows up on the field as well. Brown was on pace for 102 catches and 1,275 receiving yards before a bone bruise ended his star quarterback’s season.
Brown’s fifth-year option is projected to be $13.4 million, per Over the Cap, a figure that looks appealing for the Ravens given the going rate for top wide receivers such as Hill, who received a four-year, $120 million extension from the Dolphins, as reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
“In my mind, if you look at receivers and what they’re making now, it looks like a bargain,” continued DeCosta. “He’s just a nice piece, and honestly, if we didn’t bring him back, we’d be trying to find another receiver.”
Brown Could Get Better
There’s also the feeling in Baltimore that Brown has yet to hit his full potential. He’s a deep threat with top-shelf speed and excellent ball-tracking skills, but he needs to develop a more advanced route tree and more strength at the catch point.
Even Brown admitted there’s work to be done during an end-of-season press conference on January 10. When asked what he wanted to improve in the 2022 offseason, he said:
I think everything. I want to get even bigger, stronger, faster. And just keep working on my route running. We’re getting moved around with the offense. Work on my routes from the inside, work on my routes from the outside, work on contested catches, and just really everything that I possibly can get better at by the time September comes back around.
Brown has already progressed as a route-runner in the NFL with clever, nuanced footwork on go and out routes, so there’s reason to think he can improve there, but his 5-foot-9, 180-pound frame won’t have him winning too many jump balls.
Still, DeCosta is confident that Brown has more to offer: “He hasn’t played his best football. … And that’s why I’m excited – because I think we’re going to get that this year.”