The Cincinnati Bengals have a loaded wide receiver group, and as many as seven roster spots could be dedicated to the position in 2017.
That would seem to be good news for a fringe guy like Chris Brown. Where does the former Notre Dame star stand in the pecking order at receiver, and what are his chances of making the final roster?
College: Notre Dame
Weight: 191 pounds
Hometown: Hanahan, S.C.
Experience: Second-year player
According to Spotrac, Brown is signed to a 3-year, $1,620,000 contract he originally inked with Dallas. Because Cincinnati claimed him off waivers, the original contract is still in play. Brown is entering Year 2 of his deal and is currently set to become an unrestricted free agent in 2019. In 2017, Brown will earn a base salary of $465,000.
Brown still caught 48 passes for 597 yards and four touchdowns in his senior season. He finished his college career with 104 receptions for 1,410 yards and six touchdowns in four years for the Fighting Irish. He also starred on the track team as a sprinter and jumper, even running with the United States Junior track team.
NFL.com gave Brown a ‘Round 7 or Priority Free Agent’ grade heading into last year’s draft. He had a good showing in Dallas’ training camp before suffering a broken foot. He was eventually given the waived-injured designation and then landed on the team’s Injured Reserve list after going unclaimed.
Once the offseason hit, Dallas waived Brown from their 90-man offseason roster in February, and the Bengals scooped him up off the waiver wire.
Brown certainly has a tough fight ahead of him for a roster spot next season. To crack the final roster, he’d have to overtake someone like Alex Erickson or Cody Core for one of the final spots. It’s hard to see that happening, but then again, few thought Core and Erickson would make the kind of impact they have, so maybe Brown will turn into another surprise.
If nothing else, Brown could earn a spot on the practice squad. He would just have to beat out the likes of Jake Kumerow and Alonzo Russell to do so, in addition to the undrafted free agent receivers Cincinnati signed this year. The Bengals often keep numerous receivers on the practice squad, so he could have a shot there. Brown will certainly need to impress this offseason, but the Bengals clearly liked what they saw in him when they took a chance and picked him up this winter.
Odds: 8 percent