Has Hollywood Brown played his final snap for the Arizona Cardinals?

Dec 29, 2023, 1:48 PM

TEMPE — Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Hollywood Brown’s contract year came to a very unceremonious end on Friday.

Per head coach Jonathan Gannon, Brown will watch the remaining two games of the regular season from the sideline with the team planning to place the wide receiver on injured reserve with a nagging heel issue he’s battled for several weeks.

“He tried and I love him for it. The better part of a month of here, he’s been grinding through an injury,” Gannon said Friday. “He’s a Ferrari out there and you’re putting unleaded in him. He needs premium. … He’s got a foot issue and he’s tried. It’s not for that lack.

“He’s in there to the wee hours, up here earlier than a lot of people get in here getting treatment and doing things like that. He wants to play, he just can’t go.”

The head coach added Brown needs a couple weeks to get back to full strength and that the wideout will be healthier than ever and a better player moving into next year.

Now, will that be with the Cardinals or another team?

Despite the injury, Brown still managed to suit up for 14 games, recording 51 catches on 101 targets for 574 yards and four touchdowns. Entering Week 17, Brown paces the team in receiving scores and trails only tight end Trey McBride in catches (72) and yards (743).

From a production standpoint, that doesn’t scream No. 1 money, which Brown will likely seek, by any means.

Granted, Brown began the season with Joshua Dobbs and had a one-game sample size with rookie Clayton Tune before franchise quarterback Kyler Murray returned to action. But even with his best friend back under center and in the gun, the chemistry just wasn’t there.

In the five games they took the field together, Brown reeled in nine of the 24 passes that came his way for 134 yards and no touchdowns. The wide receiver’s heel issue through most of those games didn’t help things, but there was a clear disconnect.

Given what was seen out of Brown this season in addition to the prospect of nabbing potential generational talent and Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. with a projected top-three pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, the likelihood of Arizona throwing a multi-year deal Brown’s way doesn’t seem likely.

There’s also a handful of other free agents hitting the market who could be much more intriguing than re-upping with Brown.

Cardinals GM gives praise to soon-to-be free agent Hollywood Brown

Returning to Arizona on a multi-year contract seems out of the cards for Brown.

A one-year, prove-it deal, however, could be a compromise to watch this offseason as Arizona continues to churn the roster to its liking. Keeping one of Murray’s guys around the Tempe training facility is an added consolation, too.

If Brown doesn’t like the numbers he’s seeing on prospective long-term deals, he could also bet on himself while not hamstringing a franchise financially.

Pro Football Focus’ Brad Spielberger is under the same thinking, with Brown listed as the 17th ranked free agent (fourth wide receiver) this offseason with a contract projection of a one-year deal worth $12 million.

“I got all the respect in the world for Hollywood. The worst part of football is injuries,” general manager Monti Ossenfort told Arizona Sports’ Wolf & Luke on Friday. “When you’re a guy who runs a lot, taking that pounding on that heel, it’s a problem. We tried to string this out as long as we could and gave Hollywood every opportunity to get that heel in a spot where he could go out and help us and contribute. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get to that point.

“He made plays for us and there were times we couldn’t get him the ball, but he was there. He’s got ability, he’s proven it in this league. What that means moving forward, we’ll address that when the time is right the next couple months but really a lot of respect for Hollywood and how he handled this injury and the way he tried to push through a difficult situation for him and the team.”

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Has Hollywood Brown played his final snap for the Arizona Cardinals?