John Brown Interested in Steelers or Colts Contract After Release from Bills

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 11, 2021

Buffalo Bills wide receiver John Brown (15) in action against the Arizona Cardinals during an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Jennifer Stewart)
Jennifer Stewart/Associated Press

Former Buffalo Bills wide receiver John Brown suggested Thursday that he has interest in the Pittsburgh Steelers and Indianapolis Colts ahead of free agency.

In an interview on SiriusXM NFL Radio (h/t Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio), the veteran specifically mentioned the Steelers and Colts as teams he could see himself landing with:

"It depends who needs receivers. You know, the Pittsburgh Steelers, Big Ben [Roethlisberger] is definitely good with the deep ball, and the Indianapolis Colts, the way they use T.Y. Hilton. When we played those guys in the playoffs last year I walked off and I'm like, this team, they're up and coming, they're going to be a problem in the next few years.

"So, you know, I got options, I feel like I would fit in anywhere, but those are just the main two off the top. Anywhere I can come in and help and be a small piece to the puzzle, or if they need me to be a big piece to come in and help younger guys out and move around and do what I have to do. Those are the main two teams, though."

Brown became a free agent Wednesday after the Bills released him to save about $8 million against the salary cap.

The 30-year-old veteran spent two seasons in Buffalo after previous stints as a member of the Arizona Cardinals and Baltimore Ravens.

Brown's first season as a Bill was the best of his career, as he caught a career-high 72 passes for 1,060 yards while adding six touchdowns. He was knocked down to No. 2 on the depth chart last season following the acquisition of Stefon Diggs but still played a role in Josh Allen's development as Buffalo made the playoffs in the quarterback's second NFL campaign.

While Diggs led the NFL in receptions and receiving yardage, Brown struggled to stay healthy.

The Pittsburg State product missed a career-high seven games with calf and ankle injuries and finished the year with just 33 receptions for 458 yards and three touchdowns. Those marked his lowest totals since 2017 with the Cardinals.

Brown played in each of the Bills' three postseason games last season during their run to the AFC Championship Game, but he managed just 10 receptions for 86 yards and didn't appear to be 100 percent.

With Diggs being the clear No. 1, Cole Beasley manning the slot and Gabriel Davis playing some great football as a rookie, Brown became expendable for the Bills, especially given his cap number.

Many teams could benefit from a healthy Brown, and both the Steelers and Colts could conceivably take a long look at him in free agency.

Wide receiver is far from Pittsburgh's biggest need with Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool and James Washington on the roster, but JuJu Smith-Schuster is a free agent and could be on his way out of town.

The Colts have a more obvious need at the position, especially if they are unable to re-sign free-agent T.Y. Hilton. Currently, Michael Pittman Jr. and Parris Campbell are the top receivers on their roster, along with restricted free agent Zach Pascal.

Buffalo got to a place where it had a surplus of talent at wide receiver and needed more money to address other needs. While Brown was a casualty of that situation, he shouldn't have any issue landing elsewhere.