After seeing four defensive starters head elsewhere in the early portion of free agency, the Ravens will now be without their leading receiver from last season, John Brown, whose agreed to sign with the Bills on a three-year contract.
Brown is coming off a nice bounce-back year in which he caught 42 receptions for 715 yards and five touchdowns. However, essentially all of this production came in the first half of the season with Joe Flacco under center.
In the first nine games of the season, Brown caught 34 passes for 604 yards and four touchdowns. He produced several highlight plays and impressive touchdown receptions. While his production fell off in the back half of the season, he still managed to finish as the team’s leading receiver.
Brown’s vertical passing ability clearly didn’t mesh well with the playing style of Lamar Jackson and he recently said on Instagram that the Ravens didn’t approach him about returning to Baltimore, so this news shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.
His performance last season earned himself a nice raise. Brown figures to immediately slot in as the Bills top wideout and should thrive as the go-to option for Josh Allen, whose best attribute, much like Flacco, is his arm strength.
As has been the case the past few year, the Ravens wide receiver unit will once again have a much different look next season. With Michael Crabtree and John Brown out of the fold, the only returning contributors from last season are Willie Snead IV and Chris Moore. Jordan Lasley and Jaleel Scott are also on the roster but neither saw the field last year.
Brown’s departure only increases the chances that the Ravens address the receiver position in the draft. It’s also possible that they could sign a free agent or two, although the market isn’t too rich at the position.