Many people expect former Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz to have a nice, bounce-back year with the Indianapolis Colts in 2021. The Colts have a much stronger team than the Eagles did in 2020, and they just seem to be a much better run organization. One position that the Colts must fill to help Wentz this offseason, though, is potentially the most important when it comes to his success — receiver. T.Y. Hilton is a free agent, and, other than him, Indy pretty much just had some young guys last year. However, a veteran receiver that a top quarterback has trusted the past couple of years is now interested in playing with Wentz and the Colts. That receiver is former Buffalo Bills pass catcher John Brown.
John Brown was a trusted weapon for Josh Allen on the Bills
Josh Allen became one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL in 2020. He threw for 4,544 yards, 37 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. He also helped lead the Bills to a 13-3 record and the AFC Championship Game.
However, in 2018 and 2019 (Allen’s first two seasons in the league), he was just a mediocre quarterback. Allen threw for 2,074 yards, 10 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions in 2018, and then 3,089 yards, 20 touchdowns, and nine interceptions in 2019.
His receiver, John Brown, battled injuries in 2020, but during that 2019 season, when Allen first started showing his true potential, Brown was his most trusted weapon. Brown led the Bills in catches with 72 and in receiving yards with 1,060. Both of those numbers were career-highs for Brown, and it was the first time he gained over 1,000 receiving yards in a season since 2015 when he played for the Arizona Cardinals.
After only playing in nine games in 2020, though, and seeing the Bills add a big-time player like Stefon Diggs, Brown was released by Buffalo this week. The team cleared $7.93 million in cap space for 2021 by making the move, per ESPN.
So, Allen no longer has his trusted target and his top receiver from 2019. Brown, however, is already looking at some possible teams — and quarterbacks — to play with in 2021.
John Brown listed the Colts as a preferred team
After his release from the Bills, John Brown spoke to SiriusXM NFL Radio, and he discussed some teams that he would potentially like to play for in 2021.
“It depends who needs receivers,” Brown said, according to ProFootballTalk. “You know, the Pittsburgh Steelers, Big Ben 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.”
It’s interesting to see that Brown wants to line up at receiver for the Colts, especially with Indy trading for Carson Wentz this offseason.
So, would Brown and the Colts work?
Carson Wentz and John Brown could have a lot of success together
Quarterback Carson Wentz is looking for a fresh start with the Colts. After becoming an MVP candidate early in his career in 2017, Wentz had a horrible year in 2020, as he threw an NFL-leading 15 interceptions in 12 games.
Wentz did, though, get sacked a league-leading 50 times last year. That shouldn’t be a problem with the Colts, as they have one of the best offensive lines in football. However, he could use some help at receiver, especially after his last couple of years with the Eagles. Wentz’s receivers dropped the fifth-most passes in 2019 with 28. They then dropped 23 passes in 12 games with Wentz in 2020.
Brown would not only become a trusted target for Wentz like he did with Josh Allen. He would also fill a void at receiver for the Colts. T.Y. Hilton is an unrestricted free agent for Indy, and it’s unclear whether he will be back with the Colts in 2021 or not. Zach Pascal, the Colts’ second-leading receiver in 2020 behind Hilton, is also a restricted free agent. Colts GM Chris Ballard, though, said last month that he thinks Pascal will be back at receiver in 2021, per Colts reporter Jim Ayello.
As of now, however, the Colts’ top receiver is Michael Pittman, who gained 503 receiving yards in his rookie season last year. Wentz could definitely use a veteran like Brown if he hopes to become an MVP candidate again.
Carson Wentz has a great chance to become a big-time quarterback again with the Colts in 2021. He can ultimately become just that by stealing Josh Allen’s trusted receiver, John Brown, too.
Stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference