Few players have jumped around the league more than former Buffalo Bills wide receiver John Brown this season. And just before the playoffs officially kick off this weekend, the 31-year-old veteran is hoping the fourth time’s the charm with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter was the first to break the news on Thursday, January 13. “Buccaneers signed veteran WR John Brown to the practice squad and released RB Darwin Thompson,” Schefter tweeted.
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Joining quarterback Tom Brady seems like a great way to finish out the year –joining last year’s Super Bowl champions, a team that won the NFC South was 13-4 record.
The Bucs signed Brown in order to add more depth at the receiver position before taking on the Philadelphia Eagles in the first round of the playoffs on Sunday, January 16. If Brown gets elevated to the active roster, he’ll be allowed to be a full-participant during Tampa Bay’s playoff run.
Unfotnatately for the Bucs, their pool of wide receivers is dwindling just when it matters most. Tampa Bay recently lost Chris Godwin to a torn ACL and cut Antonio Brown following his wild on-field outburst.
Brown, over his seven-year career in the NFL, has recorded 320 receptions for 4,748 yards and 31 receiving touchdowns.
Brown Worked Under Head Coach Bruce Arians While a Member of the Arizona Cardinals
Brown joining the Buccaneers marks a reunion between him and head coach Bruce Arians. Brown was picked by the Arizona Cardinals as the team’s third-round pick of the 2014 NFL Draft, during which Arians’ was the team’s head coach.
The Pittsburgh State alum spent four seasons with the Cardinals, recording 173 catches for 2,515 yards and 17 touchdowns, as reported by Buccaneers Wire.
In 2018, Brown signed with the Baltimore Ravens before joining the Bills. During the 2019 season, he was quarterback Josh Allen’s No. 1 receiver, setting career-high numbers with 72 catches for 1,060 yards. Last season, however, Brown fell to the No. 2 slot after the Bills signed wide receiver Stefon Diggs, so his decrease in production was expected. While dealing with injuries, Brown had one of the worst seasons of his career, appearing in just nine games, tallying a meager 458 receiving yards and three touchdowns.
After the Bills let Brown go in free agency, Brown signed a two-year deal with the Las Vegas Raiders, but the receiver asked to be released following the conclusion of training camp, and the team acquiesced.
Brown later signed with the Denver Broncos, a short tenure that ended the same way his time in Las Vegas came to a close. KUSA-TV’s Mike Klis tweeted, “WR John Brown had used up his 2 practice squad elevations and with Jeudy return, Broncos weren’t going to bring Brown up to 53. So per source Brown asked for his release from practice squad.”
The veteran receiver then signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars but was released after appearing in just two games. His time in Jacksonville was forgettable. He played a total of seven total snaps during those games and received two total targets, but didn’t catch either of them.
Stefon Diggs Called Brown ‘Underrated’ and ‘Underappreciated
In September 2020, after Diggs left the Minnesota Vikings to join the Bills, he only had only the highest compliments for his new teammate.
“I think, in my opinion, John Brown is one of the most underrated receivers in the NFL,” Diggs said, per Bills Wire. “He’s underappreciated as well. He does a lot of things extremely well. He plays on the outside, can play on the inside, he has great hands, great routes.”
“It’s fun to play with guys like that because it’s hard to double, it’s hard to do all that,” Diggs continued. “It gives the ability for everybody to eat, everybody to win on the outside.”
Cutting Brown was mostly a financial decision, as the Bills were able to free up $7.93 million in cap space, according to Sportrac.com.
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