Raiders, Broncos Grant Release Requests from Former Ravens WRs

Ravens Willie Snead

Getty Former Baltimore Ravens receiver Willie Snead celebrates a touchdown against the Miami Dolphins in 2019.

Former Baltimore Ravens wide receivers Willie Snead and John Brown were released today by the Las Vegas Raiders and the Denver Broncos, respectively.

Snead requested his release from the Raiders due to lack of play time, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, with Las Vegas prioritizing their young wideouts thus far this season.

“There will be a market for him,” promised Drew Rosenhaus, Snead’s agent.

Snead’s departure from Las Vegas comes exactly seven months after his arrival on a one-year, $1.1 million contract he signed back in March. He hasn’t played more than 10 offensive snaps in a single game this season, with youngsters Henry Ruggs, Bryan Edwards and Hunter Renfrow getting the vast majority of playing time.

The veteran wideout could receive interest from teams in need of an experienced receiver in the slot, where Snead has played for most of his career.

The former Ball State Cardinal arrived in Baltimore in 2018, leading the Ravens in receptions his first season. His role was reduced after Lamar Jackson took over from now-New York Jet Joe Flacco at quarterback, though he still caught more than 30 passes in 2019 and 2020.

But the Ravens opted not to re-sign Snead this offseason, instead pursuing a full overhaul of their wide receiver room by adding veteran Sammy Watkins and rookie Rashod Bateman.

Brown Leaves Denver After Two Games

John Brown signed to the Broncos’ practice squad on October 12 amid Denver’s wideout injury crisis, which saw Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler both landed on injured reserve.

The Broncos activated Brown for their Week 6 and Week 7 games, but with his game-day elevations used up, he requested his release from Denver rather than spend the rest of the year on the practice squad, per Mike Klis of KUSA-TV.

The Broncos granted Brown’s release request, freeing him to pursue an opportunity with another team who may be in need of his services. His speed and deep threat ability could be attractive to teams looking to stretch the field in their passing game.

Brown led the Ravens in receiving yards during his sole season in Baltimore, racking up 715 yards and five touchdowns. He developed a strong connection with Flacco before the Super Bowl XLVII MVP was injured, but his targets decreased significantly after Jackson became the starting QB.

As a result, Brown signed a three year, $27 million deal with the Buffalo Bills in 2019, putting up 1,060 yards and six touchdowns in his debut season in Buffalo. Though a high ankle sprain and COVID-19 limited him to eight games last season, he still recorded 33 catches for 458 yards and three touchdowns.

Brown also played a role in ending the Ravens’ 2020 season, as he caught eight passes for 62 yards during the Bills’ victory in the AFC Divisional Round in January.

He was released by the Bills in March and signed with the Raiders nine days later. He didn’t find a home in Las Vegas, though, as he requested his release in the preseason, per Tashan Reed of The Athletic.

Broncos Acquire Former Ravens LB

Just as the Broncos released one former Raven, they added another in linebacker Kenny Young, the Ravens’ 2018 fourth-round pick.

Denver dealt a sixth-round pick in the 2024 draft in exchange for Young and a seventh-rounder in the same draft from the Los Angeles Rams, per the NFL’s official transaction report.

Young spent his rookie season in Baltimore as a rotational linebacker and special teams contributor, and began his sophomore year in the same role.

However, Young is best remembered by Ravens fans for being part of the trade that brought cornerback Marcus Peters to Baltimore in 2019. General manager Eric DeCosta packaged the former UCLA Bruin with a fifth-round pick to acquire Peters from the Rams, remarkably low compensation for a corner of his caliber.

The trade is often considered among the best in franchise history, as Peters immediately turned in an All-Pro season and signed a three-year extension with the Ravens in 2019.

Despite a slight step back in 2020, the former Kansas City Chief was still primed for another stellar year opposite teammate Marlon Humphrey before a torn ACL ended Peters’ season before it even began.

The Baltimore defense clearly felt Peters’ absence this season, giving up more than 300 passing yards four times already after not doing so at all last year. The Ravens will hope Peters is ready to rejoin the team before the start of the 2022 season.