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Brown outs

A.J. Brown, Hollywood Brown headed to new teams

It’s been a pretty crappy offseason. Let’s be honest. It’s interesting to see guys moving around, getting plugged into new offenses. But most of these transplanted receivers aren’t going to be as successful with their new teams.

Certainly not Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill, who are moving to far inferior teams. And probably not A.J. Brown, who moves down from working with mediocre Ryan Tannehill to working with a quarterback who’s a better runner than passer.

In each of those cases, not only are the players worse, but they also decrease the value of the pass catchers who were already there. Hunter Renfrow, Darren Waller, Jaylen Waddle, Mike Gesicki, Dallas Goedert and DeVonta Smith don’t look as good today as they did a few months ago.

Hollywood Brown, on the other hand. I am on board with. I think he’s going to be a lot better in Arizona. Kyler Murray has effectively worked with him in the past, and I think they can rekindle that chemistry. With the combination of the structure of the offense and Murray having better timing and accuracy than Lamar Jackson on deep balls, I think they’ll unlock Brown more often. I could see him turning into a young DeSean Jackson.

Not that Hollywood Brown will be a target hog. They’ve still got DeAndre Hopkins, who’ll probably led them in receptions. They’ll probably use Rondale Moore in the slot, with him catching quick throws around the line of scrimamge. A.J. Green will probably play some (I think Green will be 4th among those receivers in playing time). And Zach Ertz caught a healthy number of balls last year.

But I think Brown will be the big-play guy in that offense. He wanted out of Baltimore because he didn’t like the way they were using him. I tend to agree. The Arizona version of Brown will be better than the Baltimore version.

Playing with Murray at Oklahoma in 2018, Brown in 12 games caught 75 passes for 1,318 yards and 10 TDs, averaging 17.6 yards per catch. The previous season (with Baker Mayfield at QB) Brown caught 57 for 1,095, with 7 TDs. The Ravens in my opinion spent way too much time throwing him balls around the line of scrimmage (he averaged only 11.1 yards per catch last year, just inching over 1,000 yards with his 91 catches). Brown isn’t an after-the-catch guy. He’s a downfield threat, and I think that will be apparent this year, with him catching about 4 TDs from 40-plus yards.

There are still three fourth-year receivers out there, by the way, watching these developments with interest. Deebo Samuel as the headliner, of course, but also DK Metcalf and Terry McLaurin. They’ve all outplayed their contracts. They’re all looking for extensions, and they all just saw A.J. Brown land his big deal.

The overall history of relocated star receivers isn’t very good. Since 2000, there have been 49 who’ve put up top-25 numbers then switched teams. Only nine of those players put up better numbers with their new teams. Only four finished with top-10 numbers. Another nine at least ranked in the top 20, but 20 of the players didn’t even rank in the top 40. (In all cases, that assumes PPR scoring).

The receivers are listed below. The nine whose numbers improved, I’ve got them tagged with black dots. Different readers use different scoring systems, so I’m sticking mostly with NFL stats – catches, yards, touchdowns. The final column shows the percentage change (with the vast majority declining). That final percentage change number is a composite of catches-yards-touchdowns, so I used PPR scoring for that. Numbers would be similar for other scoring systems.

TRANSPLANTED WIDE RECEIVERS SINCE 2000
YearPlayerTeamsOld statsNew statsDiff
2001• Jerry RiceS.F. to Oak.75-805-783-1139-927%
2002Keenan McCardellJac. to T.B.93-1110-661-670-6-32%
2002Qadry IsmailBalt. to Ind.74-1059-744-462-3-52%
2002Johnnie MortonDet. to K.C.77-1154-429-397-1-60%
2003Laveranues ColesNYJ to Was.89-1264-582-1204-6-4%
2003Peerless PriceBuff. to Atl.94-1252-964-838-3-39%
2004• Terrell OwensS.F. to Phil.80-1102-977-1200-1415%
2004Justin McCareinsTen. to NYJ47-813-856-770-4-12%
2004Keenan McCardellT.B. to S.D.84-1174-931-393-1-70%
2004David BostonS.D. to Mia.70-880-74-80-0-94%
2005Derrick MasonTen. to Balt.96-1168-786-1073-3-17%
2005• Randy MossMin. to Oak.49-767-1360-1005-81%
2005Muhsin MuhammadCar. to Chi.93-1405-1664-750-4-51%
2006Deion BranchN.E. to Sea.78-998-553-725-4-27%
2006Donte StallworthN.O. to Phil.70-945-738-725-5-32%
2006Antonio BryantCle. to S.F.69-1009-440-733-3-32%
2007Darrell JacksonSea. to S.F.63-956-1046-497-3-48%
2008Bernard BerrianChi. to Min.71-951-548-964-8-1%
2009T.J. HoushmandzadehCin. to Sea.92-904-479-911-3-9%
2009Terrell OwensDall. to Buff.69-1052-1055-829-6-25%
2009Laveranues ColesNYJ to Cin.70-850-743-514-5-37%
2010Brandon MarshallDen. to Mia.101-1120-1086-1014-3-26%
2010Anquan BoldinAriz. to Balt.84-1024-564-837-7-13%
2010Santonio HolmesPitt. to NYJ79-1248-552-746-6-30%
2010T.J. HoushmandzadehSea. to Balt.79-911-330-398-3-53%
2012• Brandon MarshallMia. to Chi.81-1214-6118-1508-1140%
2012• Vincent JacksonS.D. to T.B.60-1106-972-1384-813%
2012Pierre GarconInd. to Was.70-947-644-633-5-32%
2012Laurent RobinsonDall. to Jac.54-858-1124-252-0-76%
2013Wes WelkerN.E. to Den.118-1354-673-778-10-28%
2013• Mike WallacePitt. to Mia.64-836-873-930-52%
2013Brandon LloydN.E. to S.F.74-911-514-294-1-75%
2014DeSean JacksonPhil. to Was.82-1332-956-1169-6-22%
2014Eric DeckerDen. to NYJ87-1288-1174-962-5-29%
2015Jeremy MaclinPhil. to K.C.85-1318-1087-1088-8-11%
2015Mike WallaceMia. to Min.67-862-1039-473-2-54%
2017Brandin CooksN.O. to N.E.78-1173-865-1082-7-10%
2017Pierre GarconWas. to S.F.79-1041-340-500-0-55%
2017Terrelle PryorCle. to Was.77-1007-520-240-1-77%
2018• Brandin CooksN.E. to LAR65-1082-780-1204-610%
2018Jarvis LandryMia. to Cle.112-987-981-976-5-17%
2018Dez BryantDall. to Balt.69-838-66-47-2-88%
2019Odell BeckhamNYG to Cle.77-1052-674-1035-4-13%
2019Adam HumphriesT.B. to Ten.76-816-537-374-2-54%
2019Antonio BrownPitt. to N.E.104-1297-154-56-1-95%
2020• Stefon DiggsMin. to Buff.63-1130-6127-1535-851%
2020• DeAndre HopkinsHou. to Ariz.104-1165-7115-1407-68%
2021Marvin JonesDet. to Jac.76-978-973-832-4-21%
2021Curtis SamuelCar. to Was.77-851-56-27-0-95%
2022Davante AdamsG.B. to L.V.123-1553-11?-?-??
2022Tyreek HillK.C. to Mia.111-1239-9?-?-??
2022Hollywood BrownBalt. to Ari.91-1008-6?-?-??
2022A.J. BrownTen. to Phi.63-869-5?-?-??

—Ian Allan

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