The Green Bay Packers could still be looking to add another veteran wide receiver to their roster before the start of training camp the logjam at the position.
According to the NFL’s official transaction wire for Wednesday, July 20, the Packers hosted former Buffalo Bills deep-threat receiver John Brown for a roster tryout, taking a closer look at a speedy 32-year-old receiver with two 1,000-yard seasons on his resume.
Brown was a third-round pick (No. 91 overall) for the Arizona Cardinals in the 2014 NFL draft, catching 173 passes for 2,515 yards and 17 touchdowns over his first four seasons with a 1,000-yard outing in 2015. Due to Brown’s injury issues in his final two years in Arizona, the Cardinals moved on at the end of his rookie contract, but he has since spent full seasons in Baltimore (2018) and Buffalo (2019-20), delivering his second 1,000-yard season in 2019 when he was Josh Allen and the Bills’ leading receiver.
The Packers already have 10 receivers signed to their 90-man roster and could be scouting Brown as a potential mid-camp addition in the event that an injury or other unexpected circumstance diminishes their numbers at the position. If they were to add him to the current room, though, he would face a tough trudge to make the active roster with veterans such as Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb viewed as locks and three rookie draft picks — Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs and Samori Toure — in the mix.
The Packers currently have one space available on their offseason roster after cutting backup quarterback Kurt Benkert back on June 17 and not filling the vacancy.
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Brown Floated Between 4 Teams in 2021
If the Packers were to sign Brown, he would be the third-most accomplished receiver on their roster behind Cobb and Watkins with 320 career receptions for 4,748 yards and 31 touchdowns, but there are reasons to hesitate with the deep-ball veteran.
For starters, Brown bounced back four different teams during the 2021 calendar year. He initially joined the Las Vegas Raiders during the offseason but — according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero — requested to be released toward the end of training camp, seeking a better opportunity than he’d find in Vegas’ crowded receiving room. Brown stayed on the market until October 12 when the Denver Broncos added him to their practice squad, but he appeared in just two games before getting cut again and was unable to catch his only target.
Brown also spent time on the practice squads of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tampa Bay Buccanneers, but he only saw the field in two of the Jaguars’ games and did not record a catch. In total, he played just 19 total offensive snaps during the 2021 season and was not used on special teams at all — a recurring theme throughout his career and something that could deter the Packers from signing him as a depth piece.
Packers Worked Out 3 Other Free Agents
The Packers also auditioned three other free agents for their roster on Wednesday with Brown, including former USFL tight end Sal Cannella and a pair of undrafted rookies.
Cannella, 25, finished the 2022 USFL season with the most receiving yards among tight ends, catching 34 passes (sixth-most in the league) for 368 yards and two touchdowns for the New Orleans Breakers. With some pro football experience on his resume — albeit, not in the NFL — Cannella could be an interesting depth addition for the Packers to consider as they monitor Robert Tonyan Jr. recovery from last year’s ACL injury.
Former UMass defensive back Bryce Watts and former Syracuse offensive tackle Airon Servais also worked out alongside Brown and Cannella. Watts had originally signed his UDFA deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers but was waived with an injury settlement in late May after suffering an undisclosed injury during the team’s rookie minicamp. Servais has yet to be signed to his first NFL roster, but the New York Jets did invite him to participate in their rookie minicamp despite not offering him a contract at the end.