Thursday, March 6, 2014
Browner's options could be limited
By Terry Blount
As it turns out, Brandon Browner was a little misleading on his tweet Tuesday night about being reinstated by the NFL. Browner still has some time to serve on his substance-abuse violation from a positive test for marijuana use.
Yes, Browner reached a deal with the NFL to reduce his one-year suspension, but not without some additional consequences. The veteran cornerback will be suspended for the first four games of 2014. He also will forfeit his pay for the first four games he plays after the suspension.
That remains a pretty severe penalty. However, he can enter the free-agent market next week and try to sign a new contract, either with the Seahawks or a new team, for 2014. He will be allowed to participate in all summer camp and preseason practices, along with the preseason games.
But Browner’s free-agent value will be reduced because of the continuation of his suspension. Browner, who turns 30 in August, is a physical corner at 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds. He was selected for the Pro Bowl in 2011.
He’s strictly a press corner with coverage skills that now have limits. Some of those limitations came to light at times while he was on the field in 2013 before suffering a groin injury in November.
A few teams might consider moving Browner to strong safety at this point of his career, utilizing his physical style of play and hiding some of his coverage weaknesses.
If the price is low enough, the Seahawks might consider bringing Browner back because he fits their system, knows the defense and can add veteran leadership. Despite the off-the-field issues, Browner is beloved by his Seattle teammates. They would welcome his return.
But the starting job at right corner now belongs to Byron Maxwell, who made the most of his opportunity when Browner and Walter Thurmond were suspended.
Thurmond also is an unrestricted free agent. There's no way Seattle brings back both Browner and Thurmond, and it's possible neither player will return. The Seahawks are high on backup corner Jeremy Lane, who is one of the best gunners in the league on punt coverage.
The coaches also have big expectations for Tharold Simon, a fifth-round draft choice out of LSU last year. Simon spent his rookie season on injured reserve after undergoing foot surgery, but he’s a big corner (6-foot-2, 205) with a lot of talent.