In the offseason, the Buffalo Bills allowed former No. 1 wide receiver John Brown to leave in free agency, replacing him with veteran Emmanuel Sanders. If reports out of Las Vegas prove to be true, it was a good decision on Buffalo’s part.
Insiders predict that the Raiders will ultimately cut Brown before the season starts, as he was unable to shake the injuries that marred the end of his time with the Bills. Sanders, who had some injury troubles of his own during training camp, now appears to be healthy and is slated to be a significant contributor for the Bills this year.
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Brown on the Bubble
As Anthony Galaviz of the Sacramento Bee noted, Brown seems to be on the outside of the bubble in Las Vegas. Galaviz predicted that the seven-year veteran would not make the final 53-man roster.
“Now 31, he was slowed by injuries in camp and couldn’t really show what he has left in the tank,” Galaviz wrote, noting that undrafted free agent Dillon Stoner has been strong in the slot, outperforming Brown throughout the preseason.
Brown was the top target for Josh Allen during the 2019 season, catching 72 passes for 1,060 yards and six touchdowns. He was slowed by injuries last season, catching 33 passes for 458 yards and three touchdowns in nine games.
Brown had signed a one-year, $3.75 million deal with the Raiders back in March, saying he set aside bigger offers because he saw Las Vegas as the best fit.
“The biggest factor was, I had to think about my career,” Brown said, via NBC Sports’ Pro Football Talk. “I actually turned down more money to come here. I felt like it was the best decision for my career, so I had to put everything else aside and had to try to decide what would make me happy at the end of the day.”
Decision Time for Bills
While Brown apparently fights for a roster spot in Las Vegas, the Bills could also have some difficult decisions to make at the wide receiver position. There are several locks for the roster — Stefon Diggs, Cole Beasley, Gabriel Davis and Sanders — and several other players who have turned in strong performances across training camp and the preseason.
Matthew Fairburn and Joe Buscaglia of The Athletic predicted that the Bills would keep seven wide receivers, partially due to the fact that Beasley and Davis are both unvaccinated and vulnerable to the COVID-19 reserve list if infected or brought into close contact with someone who is infected.
“Jake Kumerow was a training camp sensation and proved his worth on special teams. And Marquez Stevenson made too many big plays in camp and the preseason for the Bills to risk cutting him,” Fairburn wrote. “The toughest call for the Bills here is cutting Isaiah Hodgins, but a knee injury robbed him of valuable reps. He hasn’t put much on tape for the rest of the NFL, so the Bills might be able to get him back on the practice squad. Kumerow is a similar player stylistically and had a better summer.”