Late for Work 1/25: Reaction to Antonio Brown Saying He Wants to Play With Lamar Jackson

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Left: WR Antonio Brown (Mikey Owens/NFL); Right: QB Lamar Jackson (Shawn Hubbard/Baltimore Ravens Photos)

Reaction to Antonio Brown Saying He Wants to Play With Lamar Jackson

In what has become an annual offseason occurrence, the Ravens and mercurial wide receiver Antonio Brown are being linked together in headlines.

During an appearance on the "I Am Athlete" podcast, Brown was asked by host and former NFL wide receiver Brandon Marshall which quarterback was next in line for him to play with.

Before Marshall could even complete the question, Brown said, "Lamar Jackson."

"Action Jackson. Let's give Lamar Jackson his flowers," Brown said. "Shout out Lamar Jackson. That's it. Lamar Jackson is a great quarterback. Not only him throwing the ball, the dynamic of him playing, the excitement."

Jackson retweeted a video clip of Brown's comments along with an emoji of a purple smiling face with horns.

Brown, 33, has shown that he can still play at a high level. The seven-time Pro Bowler helped the Tampa Bay Buccaneers win the Super Bowl last year and he had 42 catches for 545 yards and four touchdowns in seven games with the Bucs this season.

However, it seems unlikely that the Ravens would have interest in Brown. They had opportunities to sign him the past two offseasons and chose not to.

In addition to Brown's well-documented off-the-field issues and unceremonious departures from four teams, the Ravens have a promising, young corps of wide receivers, led by Brown's cousin, Marquise "Hollywood" Brown.

"The Ravens' quarterback has also expressed interest in playing with Brown before," Ravens Wire's Kevin Oestreicher wrote. "However, the veteran wide receiver has a laundry list of off-field issues, so it seems unlikely that the team will bring him in."

Sports Illustrated's Todd Karpovich wrote: "The idea of the Ravens adding Antonio Brown is far-fetched."

Ebony Bird's Kristen Wong wrote: "While they could use another productive wideout, they also don't want to play with fire. Until further notice, these rumblings are just rumblings, and what Jackson wants — or seems to want — isn't necessarily best for the franchise."

The speculation about Brown signing with the Ravens began in the spring of 2020 after photos of Jackson and the Brown cousins working out together appeared on social media.

Antonio Brown subsequently posting a photoshopped image of him wearing a Ravens uniform intensified the rumors, as did a report that the Ravens had internal discussions about signing him. When Brown was still available that July, Jackson said he still hoped the Ravens would sign him.

Last offseason, the AB-to-Baltimore talk heated up again after videos and photos surfaced on social media of Antonio Brown working out with his cousin and Jackson at his South Florida gym.

Should Ravens Consider Strategy Targeting Short-Term Success?

The Ravens' roster-building philosophy has been aimed at contending every season. Going "all in" for a season while mortgaging the future is not the Ravens Way.

However, Baltimore Beatdown's Vasilis Lericos believes the Ravens should consider a strategy targeted on the short-term to advance further in the postseason. Lericos noted that most of the teams playing in the divisional round of the playoffs over the weekend have constructed top-heavy, star-laden rosters.

"The Rams, Chiefs, Bills and Titans have traded away significant draft capital for playmakers. The 49ers, Packers, Buccaneers, Chiefs, Titans and even Bengals have signed non-homegrown free agents to lucrative long-term contracts," Lericos wrote. "Many of these additions were financed by borrowing cap space from future seasons. The Ravens are currently projected to have only the 11th-most cap space this offseason, which is still more than five of the eight remaining playoff combatants. Win-now moves have helped these teams win now.

"This offseason, the Ravens might be well served to pivot to a strategy more targeted on the short-term. The roster is poised to undergo considerable change with many free agents expected to depart and positions in flux. Still, they are in decent shape if Ronnie Stanley can return to form. Bluechippers Marlon Humphrey and Mark Andrews are locked up long-term, Odafe Oweh and Rashod Bateman flashed game-changing ability and Lamar Jackson remains a force multiplier."

While the "all in" philosophy has its appeal, the risk of sacrificing draft capital and depth must also be considered. As the injury-ravaged Ravens learned this season, a team can never have too much depth.

Compensatory Pick for Matthew Judon Likely Still a Fourth-Rounder

After the release of the PFWA All-NFL Team yesterday, it remains likely that the Ravens' compensatory pick for outside linebacker Matthew Judon signing with the New England Patriots will be a fourth-rounder, according to Nick Korte of overthecap.com.

As noted in Late for Work last week, Korte said the compensatory pick could be elevated to a third-rounder if Judon made the PFWA All-NFL Team. Judon was named to PFWA's All-AFC Team, but did not make the All-NFL Team.

However, Korte said Judon moved "closer to the bubble of that cutoff now."

Teams are awarded compensatory draft picks between Rounds 3 and 7 based upon a formula, which is not released by the league, that takes into account a player's average salary per year (APY), snap count and postseason awards.

After Judon signed with the Patriots, early estimates had the compensatory pick as a fourth-rounder that could become a third if Judon performed well. Though Judon did play very well, he didn't make the NFL All-Pro Team.

Brian Billick Joins Arizona State Football Staff

Former Ravens Head Coach Brian Billick has been hired by Arizona State as offensive analyst and advisor to Head Coach Herm Edwards.

Billick, who spent nine seasons (1999-2007) as head coach of the Ravens and led the 2000 team to a Super Bowl championship, is the third former NFL head coach on the ASU staff, joining Edwards and Marvin Lewis. Lewis, who was the Ravens' defensive coordinator from 1996-2001, also is an advisor to Edwards.

"I love what they are doing at ASU," Billick said in a statement. "It's all about structure in the NFL and hopefully that's what I can bring to the table at ASU. My work for the last 12 years in television at Fox and the NFL Network has allowed me to take a step back and see the game from a different angle. It broadened my perspective and that is what I will bring to this position."

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