Lamar Jackson’s newest workout partner is going to turn some heads.
The younger Brown posted a picture of the three together, and they didn’t exactly adhere to the 6-foot rule of social distancing. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a stay-at-home the same day, going into effect on Friday, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Of course, the coronavirus isn’t what most football fans are going to be thinking about after seeing that picture. They’re going to be thinking about the possibility of one of the best receivers of a generation joining the best offense in football last year. Especially when that team is a former rival with a need at wide receiver.
Could Antonio Brown join Lamar Jackson and the Ravens?
The elder Brown is currently a free agent, but remains one of the busiest men off the field in football and for all the wrong reasons.
Brown basically spent all of 2019 convincing the NFL that he’s an unhinged, abusive mess. He is still awaiting trial for an alleged attack on the driver of a moving truck in January and has the threat of being placed on the commissioner’s exempt list hanging over his head following numerous allegations reported last year. He also has grievances pending against his last two teams, the Oakland Raiders and New England Patriots, as well as a lawsuit or two against him.
The wide receiver has been on an apology tour as of late, but it’s hard to know if that will do any good. There had seemed to be momentum for Brown to join Tom Brady with the Tampa Buccaneers, but cold water was quickly thrown on that idea.
Now, another quarterback is throwing passes to Brown, and tweeting at him.
— Lamar Jackson (@Lj_era8) April 1, 2020
Here’s what Lamar Jackson throwing a pass to Antonio Brown during an offseason workout looks like. pic.twitter.com/v6DYhhBn5w
— Jonas Shaffer (@jonas_shaffer) April 1, 2020
A team with a culture like the Ravens might convince Brown to be a good citizen, but that’s what we thought about the Patriots last year.
Still, the idea of Brown on the Ravens is intriguing. The Ravens’ offense was awesome last year, mostly thanks to Jackson’s MVP ascension. It was, by far, the best offense in the NFL by DVOA and it wasn’t hard to see why.
Curiously, the Ravens’ wide receiver group was the quietest unit in the league. With a league-leading 180 targets going to tight ends, Baltimore’s wideouts totaled 1,419 receiving yards in 2019, the lowest total since the 2012 Kansas City Chiefs. That might have been a reflection of Jackson’s skills and a focus on quality run blockers, but a unit led by Marquise Brown and Willie Snead was never going to blow the league away.
The Ravens did little to address that wide receiver gap in free agency, even losing No. 3 receiver Seth Roberts. At least one of their five picks in the first three rounds of the upcoming NFL draft seemed destined to be a WR, but adding Brown would be another way to reverse that situation.
The Ravens currently have about $10 million in salary-cap space, per The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec. That usually wouldn’t be enough to land a player like Brown — he signed a one-year, $15 million contract with the Patriots despite numerous off-field issues last year — but a more depressed market and playing with family could motivate him to sign a low-money deal.
Even if that’s true, it doesn’t mean the Ravens should do it.
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