Wide receivers are flying off the draft boards and onto new teams


Goodell announces several deals tonight.

Goodell announces several deals tonight.
illustration: Getty Images

A storm is brewing and Day 1 of the 2022 NFL Draft is just a fraction of what’s to come. Tonight showed that the wide receiver market is so bloated that teams would rather risk young, inexperienced rookies than proven Pro Bowl veterans.

That’s what Davante Adams, Tyreek Hill and especially Christian Kirk did. They’ve made teams not pay receivers what they’re worth in the market, and that will force several high-level receivers to voice their displeasure and potentially sit out the season while awaiting an extension that the team isn’t want give them.

It was a big night for pass catchers A record six wide receivers were hit in the first 20 picks (actually 19).

During today’s draft, two top picks (like their former teams’ No. 1 pick) were traded away just a year before their rookie contracts expired. These are guys who were about to get paid, but their former teams wouldn’t pay them. We’ll be seeing a lot more of that in the near future. I promise you that, and it will be interesting to see how the broad receiver free agent market reacts to that. First, let’s go through these draft day trades.

AJ Brown to Philly

As picks traded left and right, the Philadelphia Eagles dropped a bombshell on the NFL world, acquiring Tennessee Titans star receiver AJ Brown in exchange for the 18th pick overall and a third-round player.

Rumors circulated that Brown was unhappy in Tennessee and wanted a Davante Adams/Tyreek Hill-like extension before the season started. While Brown never officially requested a trade like his 2019 second-round colleague Deebo Samuel, it was up in the air whether or not Brown would show up to the team’s training camp without a deal.

With the 18th pick, the Titans drafted a replacement for Brown in Arkansas, receiver Treylon Burks. Combined with new receiver Robert Woods, the two are theoretically just a younger, cheaper version of the airstrike the Titans had last year. While Woods isn’t as talented as Brown and has a cruciate ligament injury, and Burks hasn’t proven himself in the NFL, the Titans’ wide receiver corps has the potential to become one of the most diverse and explosive in the AFC. From what we’ve seen in 2021, Ryan Tannehill needs effective weapons to lead the Titans’ offense. It will take a lot of work for Tannehill to develop new connections with Woods and Burks, but given the lackluster receiving corps found elsewhere in the AFC South, it shouldn’t be long before Woods and Burks have established themselves as the first corps of the Division.

Marquise Brown to the Arizona Cardinals

In another Draft Day move involving someone named Brown, the Baltimore Ravens worked on a deal that would send their former first-round pick, Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown, and the 100th overall pick to Arizona for the 23rd pick.

According to Ian Rapaport, the Cardinals have been a long time coming. GM Steve Keim said after the deal was finalized that he was very pleased that Brown dropped out of college while the team scouted out Kyler Murray. This trade was somewhat expected. Brown had not been seen training with other Ravens receivers or his quarterback Lamar Jackson during the offseason. With Murray reportedly unhappy with the team right now, a reunion with his former top pick in Oklahoma could be a smart move by the Cardinals. The team clearly wants to move forward with Murray going forward, and if Murray feels comfortable in Arizona then it’s all the more likely that extension talks will go smoothly.

The Cardinals were also looking for a replacement for Christian Kirk after Kirk got the Jaguars to sign him to a four-year, $72 million contract. Brown is a solid backup and should immediately slip into the team’s No. 2 on the pass attack behind DeAndre Hopkins. Though there’s a chance Brown could overtake Hopkins if his chemistry with Murray can be rekindled and Hopkins continues the decline we saw last year (although that was largely due to Hopkins playing through injury). As for Baltimore, the Ravens will now be looking for Rashod Bateman, who was selected in the first round of 2021 to make a big leap in his sophomore season.

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