Under Armour has agreed to a two-year endorsement deal with Ravens rookie wide receiver Zay Flowers, worth well over six figures, according to his agent, Eric Dounn of LAA Sports & Entertainment.
Flowers, who had been meeting with brands since the NFL Combine, chose the Baltimore-based Under Armour over Nike, Adidas and Battle.
Flowers will appear on billboards in Baltimore and, after this season, is planning to have a football camp at the Under Armour headquarters in Baltimore and another in South Florida near his hometown of Fort Lauderdale.
“When I got to Baltimore, I saw how deep rooted Under Armour’s ties here were… It’s exactly how I want to be viewed. Baltimore through and through.” Flowers wrote in a statement. “I have a great team around me that was able to put the partnership together and am just excited to know Under Armour believes in me.”
Flowers’ signing comes as Under Armour goes through a period of transition. In May, CEO Stephanie Linnartz launched a three-year plan to strengthen the company’s profitability in the U.S., as its brand has fallen out of favor with teens and young people. Under Armour laid off 50 corporate employees across several departments in June to reduce expenses for its “next chapter of growth.”
The Ravens selected Flowers with their first-round pick in the draft, part of an offseason retooling of the team’s wide receiver room to ensure the success of quarterback Lamar Jackson, who they made the highest-paid player in franchise history. Flowers played college football at Boston College and rose up draft boards after amassing 1,077 yards and 12 touchdowns as a senior.
Since training camp started in July, Flowers has looked like the Ravens’ best receiver, winning reps versus veteran cornerbacks in one-on-one drills and in team play with ease. At his first practice, Flowers made six catches, and Jackson gave him the nickname “Joystick” after he made Pro Bowl linebacker Roquan Smith stumble on a juke.
“A lot of times you get in front of a younger guy, they’re not as polished; usually, a lot of them are just kind of raw talent,” Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey said, adding: “But he’s pretty polished. He definitely has that South Florida route running, breaking, cutting, that Amari Cooper, Calvin Ridley, Jerry Jeudy. He has that X factor that a lot of those South Florida guys have.”
In the last three years, the Ravens have used two first-round picks on wide receivers, Flowers this year and Rashod Bateman in 2021.
The Ravens have a long history with struggling first-round receivers. Marquise Brown, taken No. 25 overall in 2019, is the last Ravens wide receiver to eclipse 1,000 yards, which he did in 2021. Baltimore traded Brown to the Arizona Cardinals during the 2022 draft amid complaints about the team’s run-heavy offensive attack.
The Ravens open their preseason schedule at 7 p.m. Saturday night against the Philadelphia Eagles.
With Flowers, the Ravens — and now Under Armour — hope they have a long-term star in Baltimore.