Three thoughts on the Seahawks bringing back Brandon Browner
The Seahawks announced the re-signing of cornerback Brandon Browner on Monday, formalizing was first reported a day earlier.
It’s a one-year deal, but the key terms other than the duration (i.e., the signing bonus, guaranteed money and base salary) have yet to be revealed. Those will offer a better indication of what the Seahawks have in mind for Browner, as will comments from coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider whenever they speak with the media next.
In the meantime, though, here are some thoughts on his return to Seattle:
Where he fits. Having yet to hear from the team or see all the key details of Browner’s contract, we can only take educated guesses as to where and how prominently he fits into the Seahawks’ plans. Based on Seattle’s other options at cornerback and where Browner is at this stage of his career – he turns 32 in August and is coming off what he acknowledged was the worst season of his career – it’s hard to imagine that the Seahawks are counting on him to start. They may not even be counting on him to contribute regularly. Jeremy Lane figures to be the leading candidate to start opposite Richard Sherman on the outside after signing a hefty extension earlier this offseason, though his versatility gives Seattle the option of using him in the slot. That would open the door for Browner, but he’d have to beat out DeShawn Shead, among other cornerbacks on Seattle’s roster. Another possibility is a situation role. As Brock Huard noted, Browner’s size could allow him to match up with tight ends, which Seattle struggled covering at times last season. Whatever the Seahawks might have in mind for Browner, nothing is set in stone at this point. It will all depend on how Browner performs this offseason compared to the players he’s competing against, which could include some draft picks that aren’t even in the picture at the moment.
What to make of Browner’s 2015 season. What the Seahawks can expect to get from Browner depends largely on the explanation for his pronounced struggles last season in New Orleans. Browner led the league in penalties with 24 – the most for any player since 2001, according to ESPN Stats & Information – and started every game for a defense that was historically bad against the pass. There may have been other factors at play as opposed to merely diminishing skills. Browner recently revealed that he played through a torn MCL that he sustained the preseason, saying that he came back before the injury was completely healed and that it restricted him at times. Saints coach Sean Payton also said earlier this offseason that the issues throughout New Orleans’ pass defense made Browner’s play seem worse than it really was. It’s entirely possible that Browner is on the decline. Recall that he was briefly benched during his final season with Seattle due to issues in coverage then went down with a groin injury. That was three years and three teams ago. But perhaps he’s in line for a bounce-back season now that he’s a year removed from his knee injury and back in a familiar environment.
Seahawks did right by him. Browner had plenty of reasons to want to come back to Seattle, including the opportunities to reunite with his Seahawks teammates and to return to the defense in which he’s had his most success. Consider too what all the Seahawks did for Browner during his first stint with the team. They gave him his shot to return to the NFL back in 2011 after four years in Canada and then they stuck by him, first through his early struggles and also when he was suspended in 2012. The Seahawks voluntarily gave Browner a raise before the 2013 season then gave him a Super Bowl ring even though he was suspended again for the postseason, nice gestures that the team was not obligated to make. The good will that Seattle engendered with Browner presumably played a role in his desire to return.