The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are finally tackling the attrition they experienced at the wide receiver en route to the playoffs. The team announced that they have signed veteran wide receiver John Brown and released running back Darwin Thompson to make way for the wideout.
The news comes after Bruce Arians, head coach for the Buccaneers, announced that receiver Cyril Grayson was in doubt about playing against the Eagles. Thompson’s release also shows the Buccaneers are optimistic that Leonard Fournette will compete for the team’s first matchup after the season.
Brown is a logical fit for Tampa, as he is familiar with Arians from their time with the Cardinals. The quick receiver had two short stints with the Broncos and Jaguars this season, but couldn’t get a pass.
Brown previously spent two seasons (2019-20) as a starting recipient for the Bills. The playmaker had the best season of his career in 2019, with 72 receptions for 1,060 yards and six touchdowns in Buffalo.
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The Bucs are already without Chris Godwin for the remainder of the season and have sacked Antonio Brown. Athletic’s Greg Auman reported that Breshad Perriman appears to be struggling with an injury of his own, which may have been the turning point for the Bucs, who added Brown.
“Bucs recipient Breshad Perriman was working on the side with a coach and that could be why John Brown was added to the training squad.” Auman tweeted on January 13th
Despite rumors of possible moves, Arians previously put down the idea that the Bucs would be pursuing a free agent receiver. Things have changed significantly given the recent injuries to the position.
“No, we have a lot of bodies and good players who have shown what they can do for us,” Arians told Buccaneers.com on January 5th. “No. Not at all.”
Brown is known for getting behind defense thanks to his elite speed. The receiver ran the 40-yard run in 4.34 seconds on the 2014 NFL combine. During his 2018 season with the Ravens, his offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg raved about his skills in distance running.
“He’ll get on and off with the best, in and out of a break I’m talking about,” Mornhinweg said in August 2018 on The Baltimore Sun’s Childs Walker. “A lot of speed guys have problems getting in and out because they’re so fast. But he comes in and out – bam – really good. “
Brown has struggled with injuries throughout his NFL career, and Arianer admitted he was frustrated with the receiver’s availability during the 2017 Arizona season. The wideout will play a different role in Tampa as the Bucs are likely to be hoping it will be an emergency option in the postseason.
“Some people are slow healers, others are quick healers,” Arianer commented on UPI.com in August 2017. “I have no choice. Can’t walk, you can’t play If you can’t run long enough, we’ll have to replace you. “