Quietly, the Bills reached an agreement to bring back John Brownlast weekend. They are set to give him another try starting tonight against the Patriots.
The Bills elevated the veteran wide receiver from the practice squad Thursday. This transaction does not make Brown a full-fledged part of the Bills’ active roster, as the 2020 CBA allows for two gameday elevations. But Brown being in uniform with the Bills again is certainly notable.
Buffalo used Brown as its No. 1 wide receiver back in 2019, when the team added both he and Cole Beasley in free agency. Brown, who signed a three-year deal worth $27MM to move from Baltimore to Buffalo, notched his second 1,000-yard season that year. Injuries intervened for the Division II success story in 2020, and the Bills cut bait last year and added Emmanuel Sanders. The team did not re-sign Sanders or Beasley this offseason.
Brown, 32, has not caught a pass since his Bills release. The former Cardinals draftee has bounced around since the cut, seeing game action for the Broncos, Jaguars and Buccaneers last season. Those cameos came after the Raiders released Brown before the start of last season. He will supply some depth for a Bills team that has been without Jamison Crowder for a while due to a fractured ankle.
Beginning his ninth NFL season, Brown will join a Bills team that features Stefon Diggs, Gabriel Davis and Isaiah McKenzieatop its receiving hierarchy. Usage-wise, Brown is unlikely to approach his former role — one that led to a 72-reception, 1,060-yard, six-touchdown campaign in Josh Allen‘s second season — but he certainly provides the Bills with experience. This will be Brown’s 101st career game.
Benford stepped up early in the season for Buffalo. In a stacked position room, Benford started in place of an injured Tre’Davious White to begin the year, earning the role over first-round rookie Kaiir Elam and fifth-year cornerback Siran Neal. Elam would eventually work his way into the starting role, but Benford has remained a reliable option, starting the past two games that Elam has missed.
Despite the stacked room led by White, Dane Jackson, and nickel starter Taron Johnson and backed by Elam, Benford, and Neal, injuries have limited the production of the position group. Injury absences from White, Elam, and Benford have made it necessary to have a player like Rhodes available when needed.
Rhodes was called up for his Bills debut last week with White and Elam both on the sideline. The 32-year-old will officially join the active roster as Benford’s oblique injury threatens to keep him out for at least four games. White, who’s making his 2022 debut as he returns from last year’s ACL injury, may be on a limited snap count and, with White’s normal replacements, Elam and Benford, out, the door is open for Rhodes to make an impact in his second game of the season. The Bills will likely trot out White, Jackson, and Johnson as their starting three corners, with Rhodes and Neal close by on the sideline to fill in for White when needed.
As Rhodes leaves the practice squad, the team has added veteran former Bills wide receiver John Brown and undrafted rookie defensive tackle C.J. Brewer to their taxi squad.
John Brown is still seeking a job for the 2022 campaign, but the veteran wideout had a chance to show what he’s got on Wednesday. Brown worked out for the Packers today, according to ESPN’s Field Yates (on Twitter).
Following a two-year stint with the Bills, Brown joined the Raiders last offseason. He didn’t end up making it to the regular season with his new squad, and he proceeded to join three more organizations before the season was finished. Brown had stints with the Broncos, Jaguars, and Buccaneers between October and January. He saw time in four games without hauling in a catch.
Brown was a 1,000-yard receiver as recently as 2019, and he averaged 50.9 yards per game in 2020 (the third-highest mark of his career behind his two 1,000-yard campaigns). A high ankle sprain and stints on the COVID list limited him to only nine games in 2020, but prior to that, Brown only missed nine games through six seasons.