When John Brown signed with the Raiders in March, just over a week after the Bills released the starting wide receiver to save money, the veteran pass catcher figured to be in for a big role in 2021 as one of Las Vegas' top outside targets. Now, with the Raiders' season opener just around the corner, Brown won't have any role with the team. The Raiders have released the 31-year-old wideout after Brown reportedly requested his own departure.
While his reputation initially suggested he'd be a near-lock to crack the Raiders' wide receiver depth chart, Brown exited the 2021 preseason in a battle with undrafted rookie Dillon Stoner for one of Vegas' final backup spots. The Raiders also released Stoner as they trimmed their roster to a 53 players on Tuesday, but he could return via the team's practice squad. It's possible Brown was going to be among Vegas' final cuts as well; requesting and having the Raiders grant his release could soften his return to the open market.
With Brown out of the picture, the Raiders are set to open 2021 with second-year wideouts Henry Ruggs II and Bryan Edwards atop the depth chart. Hunter Renfrow, Willie Snead and Zay Jones are on track to serve as backups.
Brown, meanwhile, could still have a decent market as a last-minute speed option. The former Cardinals, Bills and Ravens standout has played a full season just once in the last six years, missing seven games in 2020. When healthy, however, he's been a consistent big-play threat, averaging at least 14 yards per catch three times in the last four years and topping 1,000 yards with Buffalo in 2019.
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