Pressure is on Marquise Brown in his second campaign with Arizona Cardinals

The top wide receiver on the Arizona Cardinals depth chart needs to perform at a high level to secure a lucrative new contract.
Arizona Cardinals Training Camp
Arizona Cardinals Training Camp / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

The Arizona Cardinals front office knew something we didn't last year when they orchestrated a trade for wideout Marquise Brown. Just a few days after the speedy pass-catcher was acquired, the NFL announced that superstar DeAndre Hopkins was being suspended for six games to kick off the 2022 campaign. It was immediately apparent that Brown was brought in to help keep the Cards passing attack afloat while Hopkins was out.

Fast forward roughly 15 months later, and the Cardinals wide receivers room is looking a little bit different. Hopkins is now with the Tennessee Titans, having caught on with that club following his release from the Redbirds. First-year general manager Monti Ossenfort elected to cut the 31-year-old, rather than pay him the $19-plus million he was owed this coming fall.

Brown, on the other hand, is still with Arizona. In fact, with Hopkins now gone, the Cards have placed the 26-year-old Brown at the top of the depth chart. Is the 5 foot 9, 175 pounder ready for such a hefty promotion?

Back in April, the Cardinals exercised the fifth-year option on Brown's rookie deal. As a result, the former first-round draft choice of the Baltimore Ravens will be paid $13.4 million in 2023. While that certainly isn't chump change, Brown will be playing to earn a much more lucrative contract when the season kicks off in September.

Marquise Brown was phenomenal at times during his 12 appearances with the Arizona Cardinals in 2022

Brown got off to a fantastic start for the Cards in '22 before a leg injury sidelined him in Week 6. Up until that point, the former University of Oklahoma product had hauled in 43 passes for 485 yards and three touchdowns for the team. Brown was practically unstoppable in Week 3 when tallied 14 receptions and 140 receiving yards during a 20-12 loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

Arizona was already a dead squad walking when Brown rejoined his teammates in Week 12. The Florida native's final numbers for his 12 appearances last year consisted of 67 catches, 709 receiving yards and three scores. Not bad, considering the fact that Brown missed five matchups because of the setback with his leg.

The Cardinals are counting on Brown to perform at an elite level in '23 and earn the huge payday he will be seeking. Top-notch wideouts like Hopkins and Larry Fitzgerald are now a thing of the past in the desert. The organization has handed the baton to Brown, and "Hollywood" is more than prepared to take advantage of his tremendous opportunity with the franchise.


(Statistics provided by Pro Football Reference)