The NFL trade deadline was a busy one this season, with a flurry of moves on Tuesday’s deadline. The Arizona Cardinals got in on the action by trading Josh Dobbs, the team’s starting QB for the first half of the season, to the Minnesota Vikings for late-round draft compensation.
That would prove to be the only move the team would make, despite rumors circling around other players. One notable name many speculated would be on the move was Marquise “Hollywood” Brown. Although Brown, an impending unrestricted free agent, was linked to teams like the Carolina Panthers and Kansas City Chiefs, GM Monti Ossenfort elected to hold onto the talented wideout for the rest of the season.
The question now becomes… well, just read what it says in the title of this piece: “What’s next for Hollywood Brown?” To answer that, let’s take a look at Brown’s production, his potential market value, and the team’s options for him when the season ends.
Brown has been a good-not-great WR in his first four-plus seasons in the league. His most productive season came in his final year in Baltimore when he put up a 91/1008/6 line over 16 games. That production was good enough for former GM Steve Keim to pony up a 1st-round draft pick for him during the 2022 draft. Brown showed flashes of elite potential in his first year in the desert, but struggled with injuries and inconsistent QB play on his way to a 67/709/3 season.
This season, Brown has put up a 38/416/4 line so far. Those numbers all lead the team, albeit those 416 yards are only 15 more than rookie Michael Wilson. His 17-game pace spits out a 81/884/9 line—good, not great. (Although those numbers can and should improve when Kyler Murray comes back.) Look under the hood and his PFF grade is 72.5 this year, which is 2-3 points higher than his grade in years past but is still—say it with me—good, not great.
Potential Market Value
League observers have been monitoring Brown’s contract situation with interest. With the salary cap rising every year and markets constantly resetting, Brown’s next contract could be something of a bellwether. I’m not so sure about that, though. Brown has never produced WR1-type numbers, and he has the reputation of a guy who will miss a handful of games every year.
That said, his situation is remarkably similar to that of another former Cardinals WR who got way more money than anyone was anticipating on the free agent market: Christian Kirk. Coming off a 77/982/5 season—good, not great numbers—in 2021, Kirk secured a 4-year, $72M contract with the Jaguars, which shocked many league observers. But Kirk proved the skeptics wrong last season by putting up a, well, a great 84/1108/8 line, and is on pace for similar numbers this year.
Could Brown secure a similar, or even slightly better contract? Spotrac, one of the best sites out there for contract info, pegs Brown’s projected market value at 3 years, $56.5M—right in line with what Kirk got in 2021. Can Brown secure a contract in the $18-20M range, whether from the Cardinals or another team?
The Hollywood Options
Coming into the season, Ossenfort seemed to have three options for Hollywood:
Trade him at the deadline for draft picks. He likely would have asked for at least one Day 2 pick.
- Let him walk in the offseason, getting back only a potential compensatory pick after the previous GM traded a 1st-rounder for him.
- Resign him in the offseason for big money with the hope his best football is ahead of him.
That first option is obviously off the table after Ossenfort didn’t move Brown at the deadline. Did he try but find no takers? Or did he have offers but none to his liking? Or did he never seriously consider moving the wideout? We may never know, but I hope he at least did he due diligence and tried to land that Day 2 pick.
So that seemingly leaves the Cardinals with the other two options: let him walk (and maybe get a compensatory pick, depending on how much we spend in free agency this offseason) or resign him for Christian Kirk–type money. What do we think of those options?
A lot will depend on the second half of the season, obviously. Will Brown get dinged up again and bring his free agent price down? That might make it more palatable for the Cardinals to resign him—but it might also mean the team could get a lesser compensatory pick if he did sign elsewhere. Or will he and Kyler click on the QB’s return and drive his price—and that potential compensatory pick—up?
At this point, I think the team’s best option is to just let him walk. Again: this is a good, not great WR, and the team could definitely use that $18-20M elsewhere on the roster. Plus, we’ll likely be in a great position to draft a potential stud (like Marvin Harrison Jr.?) in what is shaping up to be an elite draft for WR talent. Any compensatory pick we get the next year would be a nice bonus.
Or you could look at it this way: Christian Kirk is playing well in Jacksonville, but do any Cardinals fans really miss him? I haven’t heard of any who do. And would Kirk even be that big of a help this year? Keep that in mind if it looks like next year will be another rebuilding year.
What do you think, RotBers? Cast your vote in the poll and give us your best Hollywood option in the comments.
What should the Cardinals do with Hollywood Brown this offseason?
This poll is closed
Let him sign elsewhere and get a potential compensatory pick
Resign him for market value, likely in the $18-20M range