Bills Could Bring Back Former No. 1 Receiver for Unusual Role: Insider

John Brown

Getty John Brown and Josh Allen celebrate after a touchdown against the Miami Dolphins.

A former favorite target for Josh Allen could find his way back to the Buffalo Bills in a brand new and somewhat unusual role, an insider suggests.

The Bills had a tight battle at skill positions on offense this preseason, ultimately keeping seven wide receivers and waiving another pass-catcher who turned out to be in high demand. But Nick Wojton of USA Today’s Bills Wire speculated that the team could make room for one former veteran who failed to make the final roster on his new team.

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Potential Homecoming for Former No. 1 Receiver

In the last offseason, the Bills front office gave considerable attention to keeping most of last year’s AFC East champion roster intact, with one very notable exception. John Brown, the speedy receiver who was once Allen’s top target, was allowed to walk in free agency and ultimately signed a one-year deal with the Las Vegas Raiders. Brown found himself on the outside of the roster bubble as final cuts approached, and reportedly asked the team to release him, per Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network.

As Wojton suggested, Brown could be a candidate for Buffalo’s practice squad.

“In a shocker, the former Bills speedster asked to be released by the Raiders on Tuesday and was,” he wrote. “Currently the Bills don’t really have a place for him on their 53-man roster unless players end up on injured reserve, however, John Brown could be a solid practice squad addition.”

It likely be an unusual move for Brown to return to the Bills on the practice squad given the place he once held with the team. Brown was the No. 1 target for Josh Allen during the 2019 season, racking up 72 catches for 1,060 yards and six touchdowns. He declined last season as injuries hampered his speed and held him to just nine appearances. Brown caught 33 passes for 458 yards and three touchdowns last year.

The Bills were also deep when it comes to targets for Allen, with the team ultimately waiving tight end Jacob Hollister who quickly found a new home with the Jacksonville Jaguars.


Brown May Have Other Ideas

It doesn’t seem that a return to Buffalo is the top priority for Brown. As Jake Lenard of KOAM noted, Brown seems to like the idea of being picked up by the defending AFC champions. In a comment on Facebook, Brown agreed with a person who suggested that he join the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Chiefs, like the Bills, may not have room on the active roster to add Brown. They are deep at wide receiver, and bring back two of the league’s top pass-catchers in Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce.

Wherever he lands, Brown could be due for a stronger season in 2021. Before he was ultimately released by the Raiders, Brown earned a strong endorsement from Darin Alexander Baydoun of SI.com’s Raider Maven, who called him a “bounce-back candidate” for this season, especially since he moved beyond the injuries that had slowed him last year.

“Now with better health and being the top veteran receiver on the Raiders, Brown has a strong chance to rebound,” Baydoun wrote.

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