Lamar Jackson Rejects Suggestion That Chiefs Should Inquire About Marquise Brown's Availability
After Kansas City sent six-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins in the NFL's latest blockbuster trade, speculation began about the possibility of the Chiefs looking to make a trade for Hill's replacement.
ESPN's Bill Barnwell threw Marquise "Hollywood" Brown's name out there as someone the Chiefs might be interested in pursuing.
Lamar Jackson did not mince words as to how he felt about Barnwell's suggestion.
General Manager Eric DeCosta said last month that the Ravens will exercise the fifth-year option on Brown's rookie contract. Brown, who is coming off his first 1,000-yard season, will earn about 13 million in 2022.
"I think very highly of Marquise," DeCosta said. "I think he's a talent. I love his personality and his competitiveness and his passion. … I like his energy that he brings and quite honestly, for his skill set, for what he brings to the table, the fifth-year option, in my mind, if you look at receivers and what they're making now, it looks like a bargain. He's just a nice piece, and honestly, if we didn't bring him back, we'd be trying to find another receiver."
Meanwhile, the Ravens' competition in the AFC gets tougher by the day.
The Ravens will host what figures to be a much-improved Dolphins team next season. Miami went 9-8 last year and just missed the playoffs.
In addition to acquiring Hill, who will form a frightening 1-2 punch at wide receiver with fellow speedster Jaylen Waddle, the Dolphins signed: offensive tackle Terron Armstead, who was ESPN's No. 1-ranked free agent; running backs Chase Edmonds and Raheem Mostert; and wide receiver Cedric Wilson. The Dolphins also re-signed edge rusher Emmanuel Ogbah, who said the Ravens were interested in him.
When the Ravens' opponents for 2022 were initially revealed, Baltimore had the easiest schedule in the league based on last season's records.
Of course, that was before Hill was traded to the Dolphins; Deshaun Watson and Amari Cooper were traded to the Browns; and Russell Wilson was traded to the Denver Broncos. Not to mention the fact that Tom Brady unretired and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be back at full force.
Za'Darius Smith: 'I Love Baltimore, But Things Didn't Work Out'
Outside linebacker Za'Darius Smith was asked during his introductory press conference in Minnesota on Tuesday why he changed his mind about signing with the Ravens.
"I love Baltimore. I want to thank Baltimore for giving me the opportunity when they drafted me. But things didn't work out," Smith said. "In my heart, I just wanted to be somewhere where I knew the coaching staff and I didn't have to go that far — three hours down the road."
Smith, who played with the Ravens from 2015-2018 before signing a huge deal with the Green Bay Packers, reportedly agreed last week to a four-year deal with the Ravens for $35 million with a maximum value of $50 million.
However, Smith reportedly backed out of the agreement after fellow free-agent pass rushers Von Miller and Chandler Jones agreed to deals that reportedly were significantly more lucrative. The Ravens reportedly worked to revise the deal but an agreement couldn't be reached.
Smith's deal in Minnesota is for three years and reportedly worth $42 million with a maximum value of $47 million.
Meanwhile, the Ravens are still in the market for a pass rusher. Arden Key and Rasheem Green are both reportedly scheduled to visit Baltimore this week.
The 24-year-old Green was a third-round pick for the Seahawks in 2018 and has 13.5 career sacks and three forced fumbles. He is coming off his best season in 2021, playing all 17 games with 15 quarterback hits to go along with his career-best sack total.
The 25-year-old Key was a third-round pick for the Raiders in 2018 and spent three seasons with them before being waived. He signed with the 49ers in 2021 and responded with his best year, playing 17 games with 6.5 sacks, 22 tackles and 17 quarterback hits as a situational pass rusher.
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler said the Ravens are keeping an eye out for potential cap casualties who could play inside or outside in their 3-4 front.
"Think of someone like Michael Brockers, who appears to be in Detroit's defensive plans but carries an $8.975 million cap hit," Fowler said. "Baltimore, like every year, wants a released player because it doesn't count against the comp-pick formula."
Mike Florio: Lamar Jackson Should Hire an Agent, Not Wait to Sign Long-Term Deal
Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio is the latest pundit to weigh in on Jackson's approach to his next contract, specifically whether Jackson plans to eschew signing a long-term deal with the Ravens so that he can eventually hit free agency.
Florio said that approach would be "misguided," and he thinks Jackson, who does not have an agent, should strongly consider hiring one.
"Lamar Jackson is good enough that he could get the best quarterback agents and he could interview each of them and he can pick whichever one he wants," Florio said on Glenn Clark Radio last week. "And along the way, he can find out what they think of his apparent plan to go one year at a time because I think it's a mistake."
Jackson has never suggested that he doesn't want to be in Baltimore long term, but he hasn't been in a hurry to get a deal done either.
Florio said it's risky for Jackson to wait on signing a contract extension because of his style of play. Jackson has taken far more hits than any quarterback since 2018 and missed the final four games of last season with an injured ankle.
"He was indestructible the first couple years of his career," Florio said. "He got injured on a hit that really didn't look all that bad. The guy dove low at him when he was out of the pocket against the Browns. Between that and periodic illnesses, I think that he desperately needs an agent who can help him shape the right strategy and who then can go negotiate with the Ravens."
ESPN Pundit Says Marcus Williams to the Ravens Was Best Overall Free-Agent Signing
With the second week of free agency nearly concluded, ESPN asked some of its analysts and writers what the best overall free-agent signing has been. Fowler said it's the Ravens landing safety Marcus Williams.
"It's not hyperbole to say the Ravens haven't had a ball-hawking safety like this since Ed Reed," Fowler wrote. "They've had great overall safety play, to be sure, but Williams has elite ball skills with 38 pass deflections and 15 interceptions in five seasons in New Orleans. Williams paired with corners Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters will be a problem for AFC North quarterbacks."
With the Ravens having to face Watson and the Cincinnati Bengals' Joe Burrow twice a year, the importance of a strong secondary can't be overstated.
Davante Adams Says He Owes a Lot to Ravens Pass Game Specialist Keith Williams
Five-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Davante Adams credited Ravens Pass Game Specialist Keith Williams for much of his success during his introductory press conference Tuesday after being traded to the Las Vegas Raiders and signing a five-year contract reportedly worth $141.25 million.
"Having Keith there in my corner and pushing me, making sure that I was always maximizing everything that I can do, that's the only reason that I'm sitting in this chair right now," Adams said. "Honestly, I don't know what would have happened if not. Got all of the talent and the smarts and all of that, but I met somebody who could really reach that and pull that out of me. I owe a lot to him."
Williams, who joined the Ravens' coaching staff last year, had been a wide receivers coach at the collegiate level for 18 years in addition to serving as a personal coach for top receivers such as Adams and Hill.
- NFL.com’s Nick Shook said the Ravens are the best fit for free-agent defensive lineman Calais Campbell: "The 6-foot-8, 300-pound Campbell remains a difference-maker in the trenches and is already familiar with Baltimore, even if his defensive coordinator, Don 'Wink' Martindale, has left the team. The Ravens don't have a ton of cap space and tend to reload through the draft in situations like this, but it would be easier for Campbell, who turns 36 in September, to stay in Baltimore — if the price is right."