Marquise Brown's trade to the Arizona Cardinals was one of the most shocking moments in a 2022 NFL draft full of them on Thursday. It just shouldn't have been shocking to Lamar Jackson, apparently.
The Baltimore Ravens surprised many by trading away Brown and a third-round pick for the No. 23 overall pick, which was later turned into the No. 25 pick (Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum) and a fourth-round pick. Brown, a former first-round pick, was coming off a 1,000-receiving yard season and, more importantly, is known to be Jackson's best friend on the team.
It would soon appear the Ravens had blindsided the franchise quarterback they are currently trying to sign to a contract extension, as Jackson's first public response was to retweet the following message:
WHAT THE F***ING F*** BRO! WE TRADED AWAY HOLLYWOOD
Jackson followed that up with a quote tweet of Brown and a "Wtf" sent immediately after the Linderbaum pick, though Jackson would later insist it was not in response to the pick.
— Lamar Jackson (@Lj_era8) April 29, 2022
That all paints a picture of a quarterback surprised and angry his team would trade away his friend. According to Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta, however, Jackson didn't have much reason to be surprised, at least that night.
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DeCosta told reporters at a news conference following the draft that he and Ravens head coach John Harbaugh spoke with Jackson before the trade:
"John and I did speak with Lamar. We always do. Lamar is one of the great leaders on our team, also in the community, as a teammate, in the building. We do try to communicate with him as best as possible. We had communication with him actually before the trade was made, to be honest, and explained the situation as best as we could. It was challenging for everybody."
In actuality, it was Brown who initiated the trade, as DeCosta said the wide receiver requested the trade after the Ravens' disappointing and injury-ravaged 2021 season:
Marquise came to me after the season and requested he be traded. He was not happy and wanted to play elsewhere. It was something I anguished over for a long time. He would tell you that he and I had many conversations throughout the spring. 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 want to do what we think is best for the player, we try to accommodate players as best we can. I'm sensitive to that, and so we did it.
While Brown was close with Jackson, the trade landed him back with his college quarterback Kyler Murray.
Speaking with reporters after the trade, Brown confirmed he requested to leave Baltimore and had even spoken with Jackson about it after his sophomore season. The wide receiver alluded to disagreements with the team's system, likely an allusion to the Ravens' status as one of the most run-heavy teams in the NFL:
"I talked to Lamar about it after my second year. Then after my third year, leading up to the end of the season, he wasn't playing. I let him know again like, 'Bro, I can't do it.'
"It's not really on Lamar. I love Lamar. It was 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."
So it appears Jackson didn't just have advance notice the trade was happening, he supposedly knew Brown wanted out for more than a year. It's understandable he'd still be upset at losing his friend, but it seems puzzling he'd put that on the Ravens given he's basically the reason they're so run-heavy.
Of course, whether they're at fault with their handling of the trade or not, the Ravens should still probably be concerned Jackson, who only has his fifth-year team option left on his contract, is unhappy.