John Brown

Raiders To Sign John Brown

John Brown is going to Las Vegas. On Wednesday, the wide receiver agreed to a one-year, $3.75MM deal with the Raiders, as Adam Caplan of SiriusXM tweets

Brown will help replace Nelson Agholor, who inked a surprisingly lucrative deal with the Patriots. The Raiders are also down Tyrell Williams, who was cut early on in the offseason. Brown will come into camp as a supporting member of the new-look group, which includes Henry RuggsHunter Renfrow, and Bryan Edwards.

In 2019, Brown’s first season with the Bills, he managed new career highs of 72 catches for 1,060 receiving yards. Last year, he was limited just nine games and finished with a 33/458/3 stat line. The Bills went on to release him, saving nearly $8MM against the 2021 salary cap.

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John Brown Eyeing Colts, Steelers

John Brown has a couple of teams in mind. This week, the free agent wide receiver told SiriusXM (Twitter link) that he sees the Steelers and Colts as solid fits. 

It depends who needs receivers,” Brown said. “You know, the Pittsburgh Steelers, Big Ben is definitely good with the deep ball, and the Indianapolis Colts, [I’ve noticed] the way they use T.Y. Hilton. When we played those guys in the playoffs last year I walked off and I’m like, this team, they’re up and coming, they’re going to be a problem in the next few years.”

So, you know, I got options, I feel like I would fit in anywhere, but those are just the main two off the top [of my head]. Anywhere I can come in and help and be a small piece to the puzzle, or if they need me to be a big piece to come in and help younger guys out and move around and do what I have to do. Those are the main two teams, though.”

The Colts would make plenty of sense for Brown. As the former Bills standout eluded to, Hilton is out of contract, and Brown could take his place on the depth chart. The Steelers, meanwhile, will probably have bigger needs to address, even if JuJu Smith-Schuster goes elsewhere.

In 2019, Brown’s first season with the Bills, he managed new career highs of 72 catches for 1,060 receiving yards. Last year, he was limited just nine games and finished with a 33/458/3 stat line. It wasn’t the ideal platform year for Brown, though he didn’t know that it would be his walk year at the time. The Bills released Brown on Wednesday; the veteran says the move came without warning.

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Bills Release WR John Brown, DL Quinton Jefferson

The Bills have released wide receiver John Brown and defensive lineman Quinton Jefferson, per a club announcement. The release of Brown will save $7.9MM against the cap with $1.6MM left in dead money. Meanwhile, Jefferson’s release will save $6.5MM with no dead money left over.

Brown started his Bills tenure with a bang, compiling 72 receptions for 1,060 receiving yards, both career highs. Last year, knee injuries, ankle issues, and a stint on the COVID-19 list limited him to just nine games. The 30-year-old (31 in April) finished 2020 with just 33 grabs for 458 yards and three touchdowns, so his release doesn’t come as a huge surprise. All in all, Brown totaled 105 catches, 1,518 receiving yards and nine TDs for Buffalo across two seasons.

Jefferson, meanwhile, was set to enter his second year with the Bills. Last year, he scored a two-year, $13.5MM deal — higher than most expected after serving as a part-time starter in Seattle. His final two years with the Seahawks saw a total of 51 tackles and 6.5 sacks. In Buffalo, he notched 23 stops, three sacks, and one forced fumble.

In a related move, defensive lineman Vernon Butler has agreed to a pay cut in order to keep his spot on the roster (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). Originally, Butler was set to count for $7.8MM against the cap with $5.5MM in base pay. Terms of the new deal have not been disclosed.

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Minor NFL Transactions: 1/1/21

Here are the minor moves from New Year’s Day:

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: WR John Brown

Dallas Cowboys

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

New England Patriots

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bills Place John Brown On IR, Promote Jake Kumerow

Injury issues have interfered with John Brown building on his strong 2019 season. His second Bills slate has included missed games and will now feature at least three more absences.

The Bills are placing Brown on IR. An ankle malady forced Brown to come out of Week 10’s Bills-Cardinals game. Brown already dealt with a knee injury this season, one that forced him to miss two games. He is now guaranteed to be out until at least Week 15.

Buffalo will promote wide receiver Jake Kumerow from its practice squad. After news of his season-ending injury, Cody Ford will join Brown on IR. The Bills are also promoting linebacker Darron Lee from their practice squad. Lee landed in Buffalo earlier this season.

When on the field, Brown has been fairly productive this season. The former Cardinals and Ravens deep threat has four 70-plus-yard games this season. The Bills signed Brown to a three-year, $27MM deal, and the accord preceded the ex-Division II superstar’s second 1,000-yard season as a pro. Brown, 30, caught 72 passes for 1,060 yards and six TDs in 2019, helping foster Josh Allen‘s development.

While Brown has taken an expected backseat to Stefon Diggs this season, he still represents a key component of Buffalo’s passing game. His IR placement will require Cole Beasley and rookie Gabriel Davis to play bigger roles.

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Bills To Sign WR John Brown

The Bills didn’t end up landing Antonio Brown, but they are bringing in a receiver. Buffalo is going to sign John Brown, a source told Peter Schrager of NFL Network (Twitter link). 

Adam Schefter of ESPN.com followed up with a tweet reporting that Brown will get $27MM over three years. Brown comes to the Bills from the Ravens, where he spent the 2018 season after inking a one year deal. Brown will provide an immediate upgrade to the Bills’ weak receiving corp, and will be a great asset for Josh Allen as he continues to develop as a passer. Buffalo’s leading receiver last year was Zay Jones, which wasn’t going to cut it moving forward.

Brown will provide a much-needed deep threat for Buffalo’s offense, and he’s still one of the fastest receivers in the league. Brown was always high on talent, and showed flashes during his years with the Cardinals. He broke out with 1,003 yards and seven touchdowns in 2015, but struggled with injuries and inconsistency the next couple of years.

He got off to a really hot start in Baltimore, and revitalized his career last year. He showed an instant connection with Joe Flacco, and had at least 85 yards in four of his first seven games. His production really dropped off the second half of the season, but only because Lamar Jackson took over at quarterback and the team stopped throwing deep as much. Brown is still only 28, and will immediately slide in as Buffalo’s best receiver.

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La Canfora’s Latest: Mathieu, Ravens, Bucs

While the Texans are attempting to retain Tyrann Mathieu, both the Ravens and Buccaneers have “serious interest” in the veteran defensive back, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com. Baltimore just released fellow safety Eric Weddle on Tuesday, while Tampa Bay has been in need of secondary help for years. Mathieu inked a one-year, $7MM deal with Houston last year, but he’s expected to receive a significant raise on his next contract. Per La Canfora, Mathieu should be able to collect $24MM over the first two years of a new deal.

Here’s more from JLC:

  • Overall, the safety market is not expected to be as depressed as it was a year ago, when Mathieu, Eric Reid, Kenny Vaccaro, Tre Boston, and others were forced to settle for one-year pacts. Earl Thomas will set the market and is asking for $13MM annually, per La Canfora. Meanwhile, former Giants safety Landon Collins — now on the market after New York declined to franchise him — will likely come in below Thomas, and Bears defender Adrian Amos is searching for $9-10MM per year.
  • While there aren’t any clear-cut, No. 1 wideouts available this offseason, slot receivers are aplenty, and they should get paid, says JLC. Golden Tate is looking for $13MM per season, while Adam Humphries may be targeting $10MM annually and has already been deemed too expensive to return to the Buccaneers. Cole Beasley could also get $10MM per year, while John Brown wants $8-9MM per season.
  • Offensive tackle Daryl Williams is expected to reach the open market, and La Canfora reports Williams’ price has already “soared” above where the Panthers are comfortable paying. Both the Bills and Giants are expected to target Williams, and both connections make sense. Buffalo employs former Carolina staffer Brandon Beane as its general manager, while ex-Panthers GM Dave Gettleman is in charge in New York.
  • The Raiders have already been mentioned as a potential suitor for Chargers receiver Tyrell Williams, and the Colts could also join the fray, per La Canfora. Williams is expected to earn more than $12MM per year on his new deal.

North Notes: Packers, LaFleur, Ravens, Brown

It’s a four-year deal with a fifth-year option for the Packers and Matt LaFleur, a source tells Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter). LaFleur is a fast riser who is becoming a head coach for the very first time, but he appears to have solid job security in Green Bay. The financial terms of the deal are not yet known, but it would not be a surprise if he was on the lower end of the scale given his age and lack of experience at this level.

Here’s more from the North divisions:

  • Ravens wide receiver John Brown says he’d love to return in 2019, but he’s unlikely to accept a one-year deal this offseason (Twitter link via Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic). Brown, 29 in April, had a bit of a resurgence in Baltimore with 42 catches for 715 yards and five touchdowns in 2018.
  • Ozzie Newsome is transitioning out of his role as the Ravens‘ GM, but he isn’t retiring, Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic hears. Newsome will remain under contract with the Ravens for the next couple of years, though his title and duties are not yet known. Per the succession plan, longtime assistant Eric DeCosta will take over as GM from here.
  • The Lions parted ways with VP of football operations Matt Harriss, who was touted as a salary cap expert. To take his place, the Ravens have hired Mike Disner. Disner spent the last six seasons with the Cardinals and was directly involved in their cap planning, so he appears to be a natural replacement.

Extra Points: Meredith, Curry, Ravens, Vikes

Bears restricted free agent wide receiver Cameron Meredith took a visit with the Colts today, and he’s expected to meet with at least one more (unidentified) team, reports Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. Chicago somewhat surprisingly used an original round tender on Meredith, so it won’t receive any compensation if it decides not to match an offer sheet for the former undrafted free agent. Meredith, 25, is coming off a torn ACL, so the Colts (and the mystery club) likely want to check the condition of his affected knee. In 2016, Meredith posted 66 receptions and 888 yards in only 10 starts, so he could potentially be a bargain if he gets away from the Bears.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Defensive lineman Vinny Curry confirmed he had the chance to stick with the Eagles (almost assuredly at a reduced rate), but he ultimately secured interest from as many as seven teams before signing with the Buccaneers, according to SiriusXM NFL Radio (Twitter link). Curry joined fellow former Philadelphia defender Beau Allen in inking three-year deals with Tampa Bay, and their respective signings led the Bucs to cut ties with veteran defensive end Robert Ayers. The Eagles reportedly attempted both to trade Curry or lower his 2018 salary before releasing him, as his presence was made superfluous by Philadelphia’s acquisition of Michael Bennett.
  • New Ravens wide receiver John Brown was diagnosed with the sickle cell trait back in 2016, but he claims that’s not impacting his health. “I’m healthy. I’m feeling good,” said Brown, who signed a one-year, $5MM deal with Baltimore (link via Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com). “Sickle cell was never part of the problem.” Brown set career highs with 65 receptions for 1,003 yards and seven touchdowns for Arizona in 2015, but has not reprised that performance in the last two years. Brown will team with fellow free agent addition Michael Crabtree to give Baltimore a new-look wide receiver corps in 2018.
  • The Broncos are still searching the free agent market for a tight end, per Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post (Twitter link), who suggests the recently-released Marcedes Lewis could get a look from John Elway & Co. Denver lost blocking tight end Virgil Green to the Chargers last week, and didn’t pursue any of the market’s top tight ends such as Jimmy Graham, Trey Burton, or Tyler Eifert. At present, the Broncos’ TE depth chart is topped by Jeff Heuerman and Jake Butt, but free agents that could speculatively be of interest may include Martellus Bennett, Antonio Gates, Luke Willson, or Brent Celek.
  • Kicker Kai Forbath became the first Vikings unrestricted free agent to re-sign with the club earlier today, and Minnesota still has interest in retaining a number of UFAs, tweets Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Cornerbacks Terence Newman and Marcus Sherels are on the Vikings’ radar, as are offensive lineman Jeremiah Sirles and defensive lineman Shamar Stephen. Minnesota could have competition for the latter two, as Sirles has taken a visit with the Panthers, while Stephen was hosted by the division-rival Lions.

Ravens To Sign WR John Brown

The Ravens have agreed to terms with free agent wideout John Brown, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Baltimore was reportedly in advanced talks with Brown, a former Arizona Cardinal, as of earlier today.

Brown will receive a one-year deal, per Adam Caplan of SiriusXM (Twitter links). The base value of his new contract is $5MM, but he’ll have the chance to max out at $6.5MM via incentives.

Baltimore is in dire need of wide receivers, as Mike Wallace is a free agent while fellow veteran Jeremy Maclin has been mentioned as a candidate for release. With limited cap space, however, the Ravens were forced to sit and watch as top-tier pass-catchers such as Allen Robinson, Sammy Watkins, and Marqise Lee came off the board.

Brown is coming off the worst season of his NFL tenure, as injuries limited him to just ten games. During that time, Brown managed only 21 receptions for 299 yards and two scores. As recently as 2015, however, the now 27-year-old Brown put up 65 catches for 1,003 yards and seven touchdowns, and he’s reportedly healthy.

Heading into free agency, PFR ranked Brown as the 10th-best available wide receiver. He reportedly generated interest from at least seven clubs before inking his pact with the Ravens.

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