The Baltimore Ravens really didn't have any choice in the matter. Marquise "Hollywood" Brown wanted out of Baltimore after three seasons with the team.
Baltimore surprisingly dealt Brown to the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for the No. 23 pick and a third-round pick (No. 100 overall), a decision that left the Ravens without their No. 1 wide receiver -- and one of Lamar Jackson's most trusted targets. Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta admitted the move had to be made.
"Marquise came to me after the season and requested that he be traded and was not happy and wanted to play elsewhere," DeCosta said. "Again, it was something that I anguished over for a long time. I always say the club has to win, and this was a situation where it was going to be impossible for the club to truly win, but we do what we think is best for the player. We try to accommodate players when we can. I'm sensitive to that, so we did it."
Brown had a career-high 91 catches for 1,008 yards and six touchdowns in 2021, the Ravens' first 1,000-yard receiver since Mike Wallace in 2016. He has 195 catches for 2,361 yards and 21 touchdowns over his three seasons in the league.
The Ravens admitted the Brown trade was agreed upon earlier in the week, explaining why he was at the Cardinals draft party when the trade was announced. DeCosta also had to talk with Lamar Jackson, who lost one of his close friends to another roster.
Whether Jackson is happy or not is to be determined.
"Lamar is probably one of the great leaders of our team, also in the community, as a teammate, in the building. So, we do try to communicate with him as best as possible," DeCosta said. "We had a communication with him, actually, before the trade was made, to be honest, and explained the situation as best as we could.
"It's challenging for everybody. Our locker room is very close, which I'm proud of, as Coach [Harbaugh] would say. So, any time a teammate is potentially getting traded, it's something that's hard for the players to understand at times, but in the end, it happens, it's part of the business."
The Ravens found it hard to part ways with Brown, using that first-round pick to draft center Tyler Linderbaum at No. 23 overall. Grabbing Kyle Hamilton at No. 14 and Linderbaum at No. 23 is an impressive haul for the Ravens, despite the significant loss at wide receiver.
"I think he would say that he feels happy, which is good, and we made the best of the situation as a club," DeCosta said. "We used that pick wisely, I think. We got a good trade, I think, and we got an excellent player.
"I hope when we look back at this, we'll see that. It was a tough situation. I hope for the best for 'Hollywood,' I really do. I hope he's in the Pro Bowl, but I also think that this guy (Linderbaum) that we drafted is also going to be in Pro Bowls, too. So, that will be a heck of a thing."