Many skill players in the NFL are exchanging their jersey numbers for single digits in preparation for the 2021 season, as a new rule passed by NFL owners now allows them to do so. The Baltimore Ravens have one of their top receivers changing his jersey number, as the team announced on Wednesday that Marquise Brown will be giving back No. 15 and taking No. 5.
“Hollywood” Brown taking the No. 5 jersey is an interesting decision, as the last Ravens star to don that number was quarterback Joe Flacco. The former NFL Rookie of the Year won Super Bowl XLVII with Baltimore in 2013, and also was named Super Bowl MVP. Flacco owns several franchise records, including most passing yards, most regular-season wins and most postseason wins as well. Either way, Brown has a chance to make the purple No. 5 relevant again.
Brown was drafted by the Ravens with the No. 25 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, and was the Ravens’ leading receiver in 2020 with 58 catches for 769 yards and eight touchdowns. Still, he struggled with drops — as did many of the receivers Lamar Jackson threw to. Brown’s speed and big-play ability are important strengths, but he will be competing for snaps in 2021. Not only did the Ravens sign Sammy Watkins in free agency, but they also spent a first-round pick on Rashod Bateman out of Minnesota and later drafted Tylan Wallace out of Oklahoma State in the fourth round.
Brown is not the only Raven to recently switch his jersey number, as linebacker Patrick Queen is giving up his No. 48 for No. 6, which he wore during his time at LSU. According to ESPN’s Kevin Seifert, NFL rules will force a player to buy out the existing inventory of jersey distributors if he wants to change his number this season. If the player waits until 2022 to change his number, he would not have to buy out any inventory.