Commentary: Should the Ravens gamble on Antonio Brown?

Todd Karpovich

The Ravens had numerous opportunities to shoot down rumors about potentially signing Antonio Brown. 

General manager Eric DeCosta was asked about the mercurial wide receiver prior to this year's draft and he replied, "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."

Quarterback and NFL MVP Lamar Jackson has worked out with Brown in Florida and has publicly lobbied for the Ravens to sign him.

Coach John Harbaugh's thoughts on the matter? "We’ll look at any and every player at all times. Antonio Brown is no exception."

I've been bombarded with comments on social media anytime I post a story about Brown and the Ravens. Most of the responses are negative. Fans contend Brown would be a disruptive force in the locker room, underscored by his recent brushes with the law.

Jackson argues the Ravens' locker room is strong enough to absorb a strong personality like Brown.

I tend to agree with him.

I also think the chemistry issue is overrated because in-house problems generally arise when teams are losing.

Jackson is certainly not worried about any potential problems. 

"That’s the type of guy we need in our locker room. And I feel like the locker room here is different from any other locker room," Jackson said. "It’s like a brotherhood going on. It’s none of that outside noise; it’s strictly inside. We worry about each other; we worry about what we have going on. We want to win, and I can just tell that he wants to win. He wants to play ball.”

The 2020 Ravens are one of the most talented teams in franchise history. If there was any weakness on the team, it would be in the wide receiver, which is filled with mostly first- and second-year players.

Marquise Brown is fully healthy and has the potential to be one of the league's breakout players this season. He is also the cousin of Antonio Brown, which creates an added comfort zone. Brown and Brown on the outside would keep defensive coordinators awake at night.

Antonio Brown is suspended the first eight games of the 2020 season. If he joins the Ravens, he won't be able to play until the Nov. 11 against the New England Patriots. Brown also has other outstanding legal issues.

Brown is a dominant player when he can get on the field, amassing 841 receptions for 11,263 yards and 75 touchdowns over 10 seasons. Brown has been named to seven Pro Bowl teams and awarded four first-team All-Pro honors over 10 seasons. 

In 17 games (8-9) against the Ravens, Brown caught 99 passes (168 targets) for 1,191 yards with five touchdowns. He also made one of the most iconic plays against Baltimore when he extended the ball just over the goal line that knocked the Ravens out of the playoffs in 2016. 

Even though he recently announced his retirement, Brown apparently is open to the idea of signing with Baltimore. He even posted a photoshopped image of himself wearing a Ravens jersey.

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In the end, it's a long shot that he lands in Charm City. 

Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti does not like to sign players with legal issues or a troubled background in the aftermath of the Ray Rice domestic violence incident.

Nonetheless, it's still interesting the Ravens will not go on the record and say they are not interested in Brown.

He's a high-risk, high-reward player.

The question is whether the Ravens want to take the gamble.

If they did. they could be one step closer to the Super Bowl.