The Bleacher Report NFL Staff compiled a list of needs and suggestions for all 32 teams following Week 3. The player they advised the Browns to add immediately is Arizona Cardinals deep-threat wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown.
The Browns have done what they can in the running game to make up for the loss of Nick Chubb. They signed Kareem Hunt and will give an expanded role to Jerome Ford. But that doesn’t give them the same big-play potential that Chubb offered.
Kevin Stefanski has to find a way to get more out of Deshaun Watson, and adding a playmaking receiver like Marquise Brown would be a step in that direction. Brown was No. 9 on our most recent trade block big board. The majority of the targets [in Cleveland] have gone to Amari Cooper and Elijah Moore, but Moore hasn’t been particularly productive within his role.
Marquise Brown Offers Cleveland Proven Deep Threat, Options Next Offseason
The Cardinals are 1-2 after a surprise win over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, September 24, and have been competitive in all three games this season. However, the writing is on the wall for the new regime in the desert, at least as far as the 2023 campaign goes — the fewer wins, the better.
Quarterback Kyler Murray remains sidelined as he rehabilitates from an ACL injury suffered last season, replaced by former Browns backup Josh Dobbs. Dobbs has kept the Cards scrappy and will likely continue to do so, meaning the best way for Arizona to ensure it finishes near the bottom of the pack in a weak NFC is to start dealing some of his better options in the pass game in an effort to stockpile draft assets and cut salary cap costs.
Brown is a quality candidate for Cleveland in several ways. Despite struggling with drop issues throughout his career, the speedy receiver was a bonafide big-play threat for Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens across three seasons before landing with Arizona in 2022. Brown has 26 career touchdowns and tallied 91 catches and more than 1,000 yards with the Ravens in 2021.
His contract also offers the Browns options. If the former first-round pick clicks in Cleveland, the team can attempt to extend him long-term, as the $13.4 million fifth-year option on Brown’s rookie contract expires next offseason. The Browns will also have a call to make on Donovan Peoples-Jones come March, and Brown affords the franchise another option on the outside from whom to choose.
If things don’t work out as well, a cap-heavy Cleveland franchise can move on from Brown without penalty.
Deshaun Watson Trending Up, Making Now Perfect Time for Cleveland to Trade for Marquise Brown
Now is also the perfect time to supplement Watson with another big-play threat in the offense.
The QB put together what was easily his best start of the season on Sunday, completing 27-of-33 passes for 289 yards, 2 touchdowns and a rating of 123.4. He also rushed the football four times for 16 yards as Cleveland beat the Tennessee Titans 27-3.
Cleveland’s defense has been among the best in the NFL through three weeks, allowing a total of 32 points (an average of less than 11 per game) and holding two of three opponents to just 3 points in dominant wins.
If he wasn’t before Chubb’s injury, Watson is now the undisputed key to the Browns’ offensive success. Cleveland can capitalize on the momentum their QB picked up in Week 3 by making an aggressive move to trade for another pass-catcher like Brown.