As far as I’m aware, there is precisely one non-related person to date, either player or front office personnel or coach, who has gone on record to say that he would like for former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown, who has been unemployed since mid-September, as a member of his team.
That would be Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, entering his third season, a team who last year drafted Brown’s cousin, wide receiver Marquise Brown, in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft. The three of them all worked out together earlier this offseason, which prompted reporters to ask general manager Eric DeCosta to address the subject.
On Tuesday, Jackson held a conference call with local reporters to answer questions on a variety of topics. Even the team’s own website, however, picked up and ran with his response to a question about the possibility of signing the former All-Pro wide receiver.
“I’d be happy if we signed him”, the site quotes Jackson as saying of the elder Brown. “He’s a great player, he shows it each and every year”. But he wisely added to the end of his comments that “it’s not my decision”.
As for whose decision it would be, that would largely fall on DeCosta’s shoulders. When asked about the wide receiver earlier this month, he said, “those are in-house things. Those are my feelings, my personal feelings about that situation. I don’t really feel a need to share that with you all right now. As far as players – free agent players – we wouldn’t talk about those guys right now. It doesn’t really serve any purpose for us to talk about players that are available right now. There’s really no benefit in doing that. So, I think I’ll just leave that one alone”.
The Ravens had one of the least productive wide receiver groups in the NFL last season, and in the past several years, yet they still led the league in scoring. Brown as a former first-round pick is their top receiver, and they are hoping that Miles Boykin will emerge in year two, rounded out by Willie Snead and Chris Moore.
While they have seemingly downplayed the level of need at the position and talked about how much they like who they currently have at the group, it’s widely expected that the Ravens will draft a wide receiver pretty early in the draft.
If they should suddenly sign Brown today before the draft, they may change things. But I wouldn’t exactly be holding my breath. Any team who is looking to sign him would have to do so knowing that he would likely be placed on the commissioner’s exempt list.