The Cardinals have not yet had the pleasure this season of fielding all of their top wide receivers in the same game, but they are expected to take a step towards that goal by activating wide receiver Marquise Brown off of injured reserve, according to team senior writer Darren Urban. The update comes from head coach Kliff Kingsbury who said that Brown is expected to play this Sunday.
Brown has been on IR since Week 6 recovering from a foot injury that was initially feared to sideline him for the remainder of the season. Days before, Arizona made the move to acquire Panthers wideoutRobbie Anderson, who had had a bit of a falling out with his former team. In the immediate aftermath, the move was considered a one-for-one replacement, as many assumed this indicated a long-term absence for Brown. The team had been operating with Brown as their No. 1 receiving option through the first six weeks of the season. The Cardinals’ true No. 1 receiver, DeAndre Hopkins, was serving a suspension and would return just in time for Brown to head to IR.
In the weeks since Brown’s injury, Hopkins has regained his role as the team’s top wideout. Last year’s second-round pick Rondale Moore has been asked to step up in Brown’s absence, as has Greg Dortch during certain moments of the season. Veteran receiver A.J. Green has contributed, as well, but not nearly with the output he has in past years. Anderson’s addition has so far proven joyless, as he’s only been targeted seven times through five games with the Cardinals and totaled a whopping negative-four yards on one reception.
The return of Brown this week helps move Arizona towards a healthy collection of their top wide receivers. Brown should step immediately into a No. 2 role behind Hopkins as Moore sits out with what is expected to be a short-term groin injury and Dortch is considered a gametime decision with a thumb injury. If Dortch is unable to go, Hopkins and Brown will be supplemented by only Green and Anderson.
The passing game should also see a big boost as Kingsbury told the media that it’s looking like quarterback Kyler Murray will be able to start this weekend after missing the past two games with a hamstring injury. Unfortunately, Kingsbury also confirmed that the team will be without starting left tackle D.J. Humphries and starting cornerback Byron Murphy.
The Cardinals should soon have a key member of their receiving corps back in the fold. Marquise Brownhas been designated for return from IR, per a team announcement.
The move opens up Brown’s 21-day window to be activated. If he is not brought back onto the active roster within that timeframe, he will be ineligible to return for the remainder of the season. Fortunately, that seems highly unlikely to take place; head coach Kliff Kingsbury left open the possibility of Brown suiting up for Arizona’s upcoming Monday night game against San Francisco.
The 25-year-old suffered a foot injury one month ago. It was initially feared that it could have sidelined him for the remainder of the season, but further testing and consultation led to a much more positive prognosis of a four-to-six week recovery timeline. Returning in time for Week 11 would mark the short end of that scale, but it could provide a much-needed boost to the Cardinals’ passing attack.
Arizona began the year without DeAndre Hopkinsdue to his six-game PED suspension. By the time the three-time All-Pro was back on the field, though, Brown had went down with the injury. The Cardinals acquired Robbie Andersonfrom the Panthers around the time the latter was placed on IR, as they gave the disgruntled wideout a new home while attempting to replace Brown’s vertical speed.
Playing on the final year of his rookie contract, Brown began his first season in the desert with expectations to take on a No. 1 role in Hopkins’ absence. His arrival also came, of course, after his offseason trade request led to a draft-day trade which saw the Ravens ship him out for a first-round pick. He racked up 485 yards and three touchdowns on 43 catches upon being reunited with former college teammate Kyler Murray. The Oklahoma alum is in line to play on the fifth-year option next season.
With a number of high-end pass-catchers unavailable throughout the year, Arizona has fallen short of expectations through the air, ranking 16th in the league in passing yards per game. Pairing Hopkins and Brown will be especially critical moving forward, given that tight end Zach Ertzis out for the season with a knee injury. At 4-6 and in fourth in the NFC West, the Cardinals will hope Brown’s return will spur a late-season run.
Brown received a second opinion on his foot injury Wednesday, and Dr. Robert Anderson confirmed a four- to six-week recovery timetable. Brown will be shut down until close to December. His injury led to the Cardinals making the trade for Anderson, whose Panthers stock cratered after his Week 6 banishment.
Arizona is also promoting Rodrigo Blankenship to its gameday 55-man roster, along with running back Corey Clement. Signed on Tuesday, Blankenship is in position to work as Arizona’s latest Matt Prater fill-in option. Prater has missed the past two games due to a hip injury. Matt Ammendola kicked in his place during that span, but the Cards are making a change here. Arizona has yet to rule out Prater, but the veteran kicker did not practice this week.
Hopkins will make his 2022 debut tonight, after serving a six-game PED suspension. The Cardinals traded for Brown during the draft, but news of Hopkins’ ban broke shortly after. Brown is under contract through 2023, like Anderson, but the former’s status is more assured beyond 2022. Tonight, however, it will be Anderson teaming with Hopkins. That said, ESPN.com’s Ed Werder notes the recently acquired receiver will only have a package of plays (Twitter link). A 10-15% snap share is expected for the former Jets and Panthers wideout.
Pugh’s injury opens the door for Ford, who joins Brown and Kyler Murray as Oklahoma alums chosen in the 2019 draft. Unlike the better-known ex-Sooners, Ford is in a contract year. The Bills shipped the underwhelming guard to the Cardinals for a fifth-round pick.
A 2019 second-rounder, Ford has made 29 career starts. It is not a lock he adds to that total soon, with the Cards having veteran eighth-year vet Max Garcia in the fold opposite Will Hernandez. But Ford provides decent depth for a team that suddenly needs it up front. Ford, who suffered an ankle injury not long after the Cardinals traded for him, joins Billy Price as notable Cardinals O-line depth pieces.
Wed, 9:45pm: After receiving a second opinion from renowned foot specialist Dr. Robert Anderson, the timeline for Brown’s return has been confirmed, according to Josina Anderson of CBS Sports. The specialist reiterated a recovery window of four to six weeks.
Mon, 4:00pm: In an encouraging update, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweets that Brown sustained a fracture that will not require surgery. That reduces his recovery timeline to roughly six weeks, which could be be considered a relative best-case scenario. The wideout will get a second opinion on the matter.
Mon, 1:41pm: The Cardinals are set to have their No. 1 receiver return this Thursday, but it appears they will be without another high-profile member of the wideout room for, at best, an extended period. Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that Marquise Brown— who suffered a foot injury Sunday — could be sidelined for the remainder of the season (Twitter link).
Brown, 25, was seen in a walking boot after yesterday’s loss to the Seahawks. Schefter adds that further testing is still to be done to confirm a diagnosis, but a lengthy absence would mark a significant blow for both him and the Cardinals. The former first-rounder is in the final year of his rookie contract, and will earn $13.4MM next year on the fifth-year option should a long-term deal not come to fruition.
The Oklahoma product had an up-and-down tenure with the Ravens to start his career. Quickly establishing himself as an effective deep threat, ‘Hollywood’ averaged 12 yards per catch over the course of his three seasons in Baltimore. That time included his only 1,000-yard campaign to date, when he posted a 91/1008/6 statline in 2021.
The Ravens dealt him to Arizona during the first night of this year’s draft, however. It was reported not long after that Brown had requested the move, which landed Baltimore a first-round pick and allowed him to join a much more pass-happy offense. The swap also reunited him with former college teammate Kyler Murray, leading to expectations that the pair would put up significant production early in the season in particular.
Through six weeks, Brown has amassed 43 catches, 485 yards and three touchdowns. He averaged over 10 targets per game over that span, in large part due to the absence of DeAndre Hopkins. The latter is eligible to return from his PED suspension starting in Week 7, though, something which is expected to help a Cardinals unit ranked 19th in the NFL in passing yards per game (246).
September 30th, 2022 at 4:48pm CST by Sam Robinson
The Giants will enter their Week 4 game with Richie James, David Sills and Kenny Golladay as their top available wide receivers. Wan’Dale Robinson will miss a third straight game, while Kadarius Toney will be out for a second. The Toney-Giants relationship is steadily deteriorating. This regime is “clearly” not high on the Dave Gettleman-era first-round pick, Ralph Vacchiano of Fox Sports writes. Repeated injury problems have slowed Toney with the Giants, who saw the Eagles trade in front of them to nab DeVonta Smith last year. Reports connected the Giants to the Heisman winner ahead of last year’s draft. Toney will have missed nine career games by Sunday, due to various lower-body ailments, and the current Giants regime’s Golladay handling shows it is not afraid to bury bad investments. It would seem Darius Slayton — another player who has not impressed the current staff, leading to trade buzz — will see more run in Week 4, but Vacchiano adds the Giants will likely be looking for at least two new wideouts in 2023. Toney joined Slayton in being linked in trade rumors, albeit briefly, this offseason. Robinson, a second-round rookie, appears the only lock to be back.
Here is the latest from the receiver scene around the league:
Allen Robinson flashed often during Rams training camp, and determining this signing will fail after three games is ill-advised. But early indications are Robinson’s 2021 Bears performance was not an outlier. The veteran dropped a touchdown pass against the Cardinals and has just seven catches for 88 yards with Los Angeles. The Rams came in with a monster offer — three years, $46.5MM; $30MM fully guaranteed — to sign the former Jaguars and Bears wideout, using their cap space on the ninth-year player after Von Miller chose the Bills. Other teams were interested in Robinson, albeit at lower price points, but SI.com’s Albert Breer notes teams did not like what Robinson put on tape. That is not exactly surprising, considering how badly Robinson’s final Bears season (38 receptions, 410 yards, one touchdown) went. But the early returns on Robinson’s Rams deal are not promising. Rams-Odell Beckham Jr. connections will likely continue.
The Lions are being patient withJameson Williams, who is recovering from an ACL tear sustained during the national championship game. Williams is on Detroit’s reserve/NFI list, and while the first-round wideout could return in Week 5, he will not. The Alabama product is likelier to be back in early November, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press posits. Williams recently posted a video of him running and cutting. A second-half return has always been rumored for Williams, whom the Lions traded up 20 spots to draft. But no setbacks having occurred here obviously represents a good sign for the rebuilding franchise.
The Cardinals‘ receiving corps will not be at full strength until at least Week 7, when DeAndre Hopkins is eligible to return from his PED suspension. But the team may have one of its previously unavailable weapons in uniform Sunday. Rondale Moore is tracking toward returning from his hamstring injury, Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com tweets. The 2021 second-rounder, who caught 54 passes for 435 yards as a rookie, has missed Arizona’s first three games. He managed three limited practices this week. Marquise Brown, who suffered a foot injury in Week 3, is also likely to play. A.J. Green will miss Week 4 with a knee injury.
After Brandin Cooks played one game on the base salary he locked in by signing a two-year, $39.76MM extension in April, the Texans converted $831K of that base into a signing bonus. The Texans saved $554K with the move, Wilson notes. Cooks’ salary is down to $1.17MM; it spikes to $18MM next year. Cooks, who is now on his third contract, is signed through 2024.
“We’ll look at those guys and then we’ll continue to see if we can figure out when Odell will come back at some point as well,” Sean McVay said.
Jefferson’s surgery went well, Rodrigue tweets, adding a Week 1 return should be realistic. Although the Rams signed Beckham when Robert Woods was still healthy, Jefferson’s role was not threatened after the latter’s injury. He finished his sophomore NFL slate with 50 receptions, 802 yards (nearly quadrupling rookie-year total) and six touchdowns. Although Beckham coming back and joining Cooper Kupp and Allen Robinson would threaten Jefferson’s playing time, the third-year receiver should have a firm grip on the WR3 job for a bit.
Here is the latest from the NFC West:
Activated off the non-football injury list Tuesday, Marquise Brown found himself in off-field trouble several hours later. The recently acquired Cardinals wide receiver was arrested on a criminal speeding charge and booked in the Maricopa County Jail. The arrest occurred at 7:05am Wednesday in north Phoenix, according to Jose Romero of the Arizona Republic. Brown was traveling from his home to the Cards’ facility, per Kliff Kingsbury. Brown, acquired in a draft-weekend deal that saw the Cardinals’ first-round pick change hands, faces a potential suspension under the personal conduct policy purview.
D.J. Humphries‘ Cardinals extension is for three years and $51.8MM, Pro Football Focus’ Brad Spielberger tweets. This deal comes with a $17MM signing bonus, per ESPN.com’s Field Yates (on Twitter). Humphries’ 2022 cap number will also drop from $19.9MM to $12.6MM, creating some additional space for the Cards. Humphries’ extension is worth a bit more than his previous contract (three years, $44.3MM), but it comes in eighth among left tackles for AAV.
The 49ers may go with two unseasoned guards this year. They have been using fourth-round rookie Spencer Burfordexclusively as their first-string right guard, Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle notes. If the Texas-San Antonio product can stick at this position, it could relocate two-year San Francisco right guard starter Daniel Brunskill to center, where he is battling veteran backup Jake Brendel to take over for Alex Mack. Buford is vying to join Aaron Banks as a guard starter. The 2021 second-round pick logged five offensive snaps as a rookie but looks to have a firm grip on the 49ers’ left guard gig in camp.
The Seahawks‘ Reuben Fosterworkout does not look to signal an immediate signing, Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times tweets. This appears to be a case of the Seahawks kicking the tires on the former first-round pick. Foster has not played in a game since the 2018 season. Although Washington claimed the once-high-profile linebacker during the 2018 season, he never played a down for the team. An ACL tear during Washington’s 2019 offseason program led the Alabama product out of the league. However, the Seahawks are the fifth team to work out Foster since his Washington contract expired following the 2020 season. The Jets, Jaguars, Browns and Dolphins have also brought him in.
Former Jets quarterback James Morganalso worked out for the Seahawks, auditioning Thursday. The team, which is holding a long-scrutinized Geno Smith–Drew Lock competition, is not planning an immediate Morgan signing, Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com tweets. A Green Bay native, Morgan, 25, also worked out for the Packers recently.
The offseason acquisition injured his hamstring in the middle of July, and he landed on NFI as training camp opened. Coach Kliff Kingsbury told reporters that Brown won’t be a full participant right away. He’ll participate in walk-throughs over the next few days, with the hope that he’ll be able to take part in individual drills by the end of the week and be a full participant next week.
“That’s our timetable,” Kingsbury said (via ESPN’s Josh Weinfuss). “We want him to get the walk-throughs, get those mental reps so he feels comfortable when he’s out there.”
Brown’s activation from NFI ultimately cost Blake his job. The wideout spent the first four seasons of his career in Atlanta before joining the Cardinals this offseason. In 41 games (three starts), Blake hauled in 28 receptions for 257 yards. He also collected eight special teams tackles.
Meanwhile, Coward was brought in to provide some depth. D.J. Humphries continues to be sidelined by “a gastrointestinal issue” (per the team website), so Coward will provide the coaching staff with an experienced option. The 27-year-old has started 15 of his 34 career games in stints with the Bears and Steelers.
The Cardinals are interested in an extension for draft-day trade acquisition Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, and while Brown himself is presumably willing to talk contract, it is unclear where negotiations stand at this point, or if they have even commenced. Brown is scheduled to earn a $2.1MM salary in 2022 (the final year of his rookie deal), and a fully-guaranteed $13.4MM in 2023 under the fifth-year option of the rookie contract.
The 2019 draft class of wide receivers, which includes the likes of Deebo Samuel, A.J. Brown, D.K. Metcalf, Diontae Johnson, and Terry McLaurin, has been a key source of material at PFR in recent months, as those players became extension-eligible for the first time this offseason and either have contributed, or soon will contribute, to the booming receiver market. A.J. Brown landed a $25MM/year contract from the Eagles upon being traded to Philadelphia from the Titans, and McLaurin just agreed to a $23.3MM/year deal with the Commanders. As Joel Corry of CBS Sports recently tweeted, four wide receivers enjoyed $20MM+ AAVs when the offseason began, and there are now 12 receivers who are sitting at or above that threshold (despite the release of Julio Jones). Samuel and Metcalf seem poised to join the club at some point in the near future.
Marquise Brown, the No. 25 overall pick of the Ravens in the 2019 draft, has not yet produced at the same level as his above-mentioned contemporaries, but that can be at least partially explained by the fact that his three years in Baltimore were spent in a run-centric offense focused upon the dual-threat capabilities of quarterback Lamar Jackson. The passing scheme of offensive coordinator Greg Roman — who has served as OC since Brown’s rookie year — has been heavily criticized for being too simplistic and predictable, and Brown’s trade request was largely a function of that system.
“It was just … my happiness,” Brown said when asked about his desire for a trade. “I talked to Lamar about it after my second year. And then after my third year, leading up to the end of the season, you know, [Jackson] wasn’t playing. I let him know again, like, ‘Yeah, bro, I can’t do it.’
“You know, it’s not really on Lamar, like I love Lamar. It was just, you know, it’s just the system just wasn’t for me personally. You know, I love all my teammates. I love the guys. It was just something I had to think about for myself.”
Brown’s diminutive stature (5-9, 170) will likely prevent him from ever becoming a true “alpha” receiver, but he possesses elite speed and is a solid enough route runner. In head coach Kliff Kingsbury‘s offense, he will have a chance to shine, although it will be interesting to see if the absence of DeAndre Hopkinsfor the first six games of the 2022 season will allow him to earn a larger target share and thrive, or if it will make his life more difficult since opposing defenses will not have to key in on Hopkins.
At present, Spotrac estimates Brown’s market value to be a little over $17MM per season, suggesting that he could reasonably expect a four-year, ~$68MM deal if he were a free agent right now. Again, there is no way of knowing what Brown’s camp is targeting at this point, though it could be that the Oklahoma product is content to prove that he is worthy of a larger contract by living up to his potential in Kingsbury’s aerial attack.
Brown managed to crack the 1,000-yard mark for the first time in 2021, though it required 146 targets to get there, and his 11.1 yards-per-reception rate — which was the lowest mark of his career — belies his abilities as a deep threat. It stands to reason that the Cardinals, who gave up the No. 23 overall pick of this year’s draft to acquire Brown and the No. 100 overall pick, would want to extend Hollywood before he can truly break out, but Brown himself might hold off unless Arizona is willing to bet on his upside by making him yet another $20MM man.