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Arizona Cardinals receiver Marquise Brown wanted trade because of ‘conservative’ Baltimore Ravens offense

Matt Johnson
Marquise Brown, Baltimore Ravens
Antranik Tavitian/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

Many in the NFL were stunned during Round 1 of the 2022 NFL Draft when the Baltimore Ravens traded wide receiver Marquise Brown to the Arizona Cardinals. We now know exactly why Hollywood Brown wanted out of Baltimore.

Brown, the 25th pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, first joined the Ravens with the hope of being a go-to target for quarterback Lamar Jackson in an aggressive offense. But even as Jackson and the offense performed at a high level, the 5-foot-9 receiver wasn’t pleased with his role.

  • Marquise Brown stats (2021): 91 receptions, 1,008 receiving yards, six touchdowns

According to NFL insider Peter King, Brown didn’t like the Ravens’ conservative offense and felt like the coaching staff never properly utilized his skills.

“He didn’t want to be in Baltimore anymore. He didn’t like the offense—too conservative; not enough big-strike opportunities—and he welcomes a reunion with his college quarterback Kyler Murray.”

NBC Sports’ Peter King on new Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Marquise Brown

Brown’s frustrations in Baltimore have nothing to do with his quarterback. He and Jackson are extremely close, evident by the NFL MVP reacting to his best friend and top receiver being traded on draft night.

Simply put, Brown hated the system and play-calling in Baltimore. From his perspective, the Ravens didn’t take nearly enough downfield shots and that was a failure to utilize his talent. Once he wanted out, Baltimore moved him without hesitation knowing the price to pay young receivers is skyrocketing.

How Marquise Brown fits into Arizona Cardinals offense

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Baltimore Ravens
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

After losing Christian Kirk this offseason, the Arizona Cardinals needed a deep threat to help Kyler Murray. Locked into a contract dispute with their franchise quarterback, acquiring his close friend and former college teammate likely served as an olive branch.

  • Marquise Brown 40 time: 4.35 seconds

The quarterback-receiver duo already proved they can make plays together. During Murray’s Heisman Trophy campaign in 2018, Brown led the Oklahoma Sooners in receptions (75) and receiving yards (1,318) on a team with fellow NFL receiver CeeDee Lamb.

Murray is also one of the best passers in the NFL when throwing it 20-plus yards downfield. According to Pro Football Focus, Murray ranked third in passer rating (117.2), yards per attempt (15.8) and finished first in both completion rate (49.3%) and PFF’s passing grade (99.3) on deep throws.

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Arizona also recognizes that wide receiver was one of its issues in 2021. All-Pro wideout DeAndre Hopkins missed seven games and played through soft-tissue injuries in multiple starts. While he’s expected to be healthy in 2022, the Cardinals saw their scoring efficiency drop when he missed time.

There’s another benefit here for Arizona. When most teams acquire a wide receiver, it takes time for that player to develop chemistry with a quarterback and the delayed rhythm carries over into the regular season. Thanks to Murray and Brown’s history, that won’t be a problem.

Brown is an excellent addition to the Cardinals’ offense in 2022 and 2023. The only question becomes how the team manages to make him and Murray two of the highest paid NFL players.