One of the most notable signings the Las Vegas Raiders made in the offseason was veteran wide receiver John Brown. The team lost Nelson Agholor to the New England Patriots in free agency, but Brown actually has been more productive over his career, with 4,748 total receiving yards since 2014. However, his skill set is very similar to that of 2020 first-round pick Henry Ruggs. Both men are speedy deep threats.
Ruggs and fellow 2020 draftee Bryan Edwards had really strong training camps and that may have pushed Brown out. There was talk about him being a surprise cut by the Raiders. In the end, he went to the Raiders and requested to be let go, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. Las Vegas granted his request and he’s back on the free agent market.
It is a bit surprising that a player of Brown’s status couldn’t make the Raiders’ roster but he’ll likely be better utilized elsewhere. He still has good ability and will almost certainly get signed by another team once the deadline day dust settles.
ALL the latest Raiders news straight to your inbox! Subscribe to the Heavy on Raiders newsletter here!
Brown Took Less Money to Join Raiders
It must be a big disappointment for Brown that things didn’t work out with the Raiders, especially after revealing that he had better offers earlier this offseason but wanted to play with Las Vegas.
“The biggest factor was, I had to think about my career,” Brown said back in March, via 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.”
Brown is a very established player but the Raiders really like the other wide receivers they have. There are plenty of receiver-needy teams across the league that would be willing to sign the eight-year veteran, who will now look to join his fifth team since 2014. He has two seasons with 1,000+ receiving yards in his career.
This Is a Good Sign for Ruggs’ Progress
With Brown gone, Ruggs is now the Raiders’ best deep threat. The fact that they willingly let the veteran walk is a sign that the former first-round pick has shown strong signs of improvement after his disappointing rookie season, which ended with only 452 yards and two touchdowns on 26 receptions across 12 starts.
Ruggs didn’t play in a single preseason game this year, a potential indication the team is confident he’s ready to go.
The 22-year-old speedster added 12 pounds of muscle in the offseason and quarterback Derek Carr has been singing his praises. In letting go of Brown, who may have taken away from Ruggs’ possible impact this season, the Raiders put their money where their mouth is.
Head coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock need Ruggs to live up to the hype of being the first wideout drafted in a loaded 2020 class. With Minnesota’s Justin Jefferson exploding for 1,400 yards and a Pro Bowl nod and Dallas’ CeeDee Lamb hauling in 74 passes as a rookie despite losing quarterback Dak Prescott in Week 5, the pressure is already on.
Brown’s dismissal is a big step showing that they have that confidence in their young receiver.