Upon hearing about the trade, Murray texted Cardinals general manager Steve Keim fireball emojis. Keim said he didn’t discuss the possibility of trading for Murray’s former teammate with the quarterback because of the “sensitivity” of the discussions with Baltimore.
In the midst of a contentious offseason between the Cardinals and Murray, who wants a contract extension sooner now that he’s eligible for one following his third NFL season, Keim hopes the trade for Brown appeases his star quarterback.
“It better,” Keim said. “A lot.”
The Ravens acquired the 23rd overall pick in the deal but moved further down in a trade with the Buffalo Bills, who sent the 25th pick to Baltimore and then selected Florida cornerback Kaiir Elam at No. 23.
The Ravens, who also received pick No. 130 in their trade with the Bills, then selected Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum with the 25th pick.
Keim has had his eyes on Brown since he came out of Oklahoma in 2019. He noticed the speedy receiver while scouting Murray, listing him 13th on Arizona’s draft board that year and going as far as meeting with Brown during the pre-draft process. When Brown started to fall in the first round three years ago, Keim said he tried to trade back into the first round to draft him but wasn’t able to pull off the move.
Thursday’s deal has been in the works for “quite some time,” Keim said. In his 10th year as the Cardinals’ GM, Keim, who signed an extension this offseason, said he had a “very strong feeling” that the first round would fall the way it did but added that the trade would have happened regardless of how Thursday unfolded.
“It made sense in so many ways for me and to lose a guy of the caliber of Christian Kirk obviously hurt,” Keim said. “But, to be able to add a guy like this is, particularly again in today’s market with the numbers where they’re going and to have that two years of controlled costs and to have the vertical threat that he provides, is really big.”
The Cardinals plan on picking up Brown’s fifth-year option, Keim said.
Keim described Brown’s speed as “bombs over Baghdad, he can fly and he is a legitimate playmaker.”
Since he entered the NFL, Brown has had 2,361 yards and 21 touchdowns in 46 career games. He’s coming off a career-best season in which he had a highs of 91 receptions and 1,008 yards. Arizona has had just one 1,000-yard receiver since 2017.
Keim was also impressed with Brown’s durability, having missed just three games in three years, and his hands.
Both Brown and Murray were drafted in 2019, with Murray going first overall to the Cardinals and Brown going 25th overall. In 2018, when Murray was the Sooners’ starter and won the Heisman Trophy, Brown had 1,318 yards and 10 touchdowns on 75 catches.
Murray tweeted to Brown: “Let’s run it back! Hollywood to the desert… Y’all welcome my boy!”
Let’s run it back! Hollywood to the desert… Y’all welcome my boy! @Primetime_jet 🔥🥋🚀
Brown, 24, was productive but inconsistent in his three seasons with the Ravens. He totaled 195 receptions for 2,361 yards and 21 touchdown catches.
Last season, he became the first Baltimore wide receiver to surpass 1,000 yards receiving since Mike Wallace did so five years ago. But Brown finished with more dropped passes (seven) than touchdown catches (six).
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