In the wave of chaos that was the 2022 NFL Draft's first round, one of the more stunning developments was the Baltimore Ravens shipping receiver Marquise Brown to the Arizona Cardinals.
While it was surprising to many, including Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, it wasn't shocking for Brown, who confirmed Friday that he previously had requested a trade.
"Yeah, I asked them for a trade after the season," Brown told the I Am Athlete podcast.
Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta said as much on Thursday night before Brown explained it more on Friday.
"It's a complicated topic," DeCosta said, via ESPN. "It was something that I anguished over for a long time. He would tell you, he and I had many conversations throughout the spring."
Though Jackson expressed his alarm via social media after the trade went down, it was something the quarterback knew was on the horizon.
"It was just something, my happiness," Brown said. "I talked to Lamar about it after my second year. And you know, then after my third year, leading up to the end of the season, he wasn't playing. I let him know again, ya bro, I can't do it. It's not really on Lamar. I love Lamar. It was just, you know, it's just the system wasn't for me personally. I love all my teammates. I love the guys, but it was just something I had to think about for myself. The Ravens, we both handled it the right way. I didn't go out and make anything public, I just kept it in house, kept working. It all worked out."
Cardinals general manager Steve Keim said Thursday the trade had been in the works for a while and that the team intended to pick up Brown's fifth-year option, per ESPN.com.
The 25th overall pick of the 2019 NFL Draft, Brown is coming off his first 1,000-yard season, but that statistical milestone was hardly emblematic of his comfortability in the Ravens' offense. That, ultimately, was what led to him wanting to move on from Baltimore.
"It was just the situations I was put in a lot of times," Brown said. "As a receiver, even in college, I didn't catch as many balls, but the situations I was put in, I was put in situations that could help me thrive. And I just felt times throughout my career [in Baltimore], I wasn't put in the best situations. It was just something that I was dealing with. But you know, I never complained. For Lamar, I would just keep working. Let's get this Super Bowl, let's get this Super Bowl."
Brown's situation changed when he and a third-round pick were sent to the Cardinals for the No. 23 pick last night -- which the Ravens used in another trade amid a record-setting night of swaps.
While Jackson was dismayed, Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray was ecstatic, which is a good sign for the Cardinals amid an offseason that has featured a steady news cycle of Murray's reported unhappiness over the lack of a contract extension.
Following a successful stint at College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, California, Brown went to Oklahoma, where he played with Murray.
He'll reunite with Murray in the desert and join a Cardinals receiving corps flush with talent: DeAndre Hopkins, A.J. Green and Rondale Moore, and tight end Zach Ertz.
Though Brown got the departure from the Ravens he desired, it's clear that ending his days playing with Jackson loomed large, but he's confident Baltimore will succeed without him as long as the dual-threat QB remains at the helm.
"Even to this day, I know the Ravens, they're gonna be where they need to be because of Lamar Jackson," Brown said. "So it was one of those things that, like I feel like they didn't need me. Y'all gonna be in the situation with the scheme they run, they're gonna be in a good situation, regardless. It was one of those things that I just wanted to get to a situation where I can be happy and that I can contribute the way I know I can."