The New England Patriots have gained quite a reputation for signing and reforming troubled players, and it appears as though cornerback Brandon Browner could be next on that lengthy list.
According to ESPN's Josina Anderson, the former Seattle Seahawk was in the Boston area on Friday morning as the two sides continue to negotiate:
Source: CB Brandon Browner is still in the Boston-area as of this early morning, at this time.— Josina Anderson (@JosinaAnderson) March 14, 2014
Although Browner was supposed to visit the Washington Redskins after meeting with the Pats, NFL.com's Albert Breer reported that Washington believes he might sign with New England:
Per Redskins source, Brandon Browner isn't in Washington. Club under the impression he might do a deal with the Patriots.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) March 14, 2014
Per NFL.com's Ian Rapoport, Browner's visit with the 'Skins was canceled:
Breer later reported that he and Rapoport had been given conflicting information:
2 Redskins sources tell @RapSheet and I that Browner's trip to DC was called off. Agent Peter Schaffer says "plan is for him to go this AM."— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) March 14, 2014
Since that report, however, new details have emerged regarding Browner's status. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, (h/t Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk), Browner's visit with the Redskins was moved to Friday rather than canceled, so nothing is set in stone quite yet.
Breer added that the corner would in fact be meeting with the Redskins on Friday afternoon:
From me and @RapSheet: Per Redskins sources, Browner's visit to Ashburn -- called off as of this AM -- is now back on for this afternoon.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) March 14, 2014
There is still a chance that Browner and the Patriots could reach an agreement, but his impending suspension is a potential stumbling block, according to Schefter:
A well-placed Patriots source: "Browner wants to be in NE, I think we are close, but it's a tough deal to do because of suspension, etc."— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 14, 2014
Browner missed the latter part of the 2013 season after being suspended for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy for a second time.
Browner has been conditionally reinstated, but he will have to sit out the first four games of the 2014 season, per Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com.
Which team will Brandon Browner sign with?
While Browner certainly has his issues, he has also proven to be an excellent NFL cornerback. He was undrafted out of Oregon State, but after a few strong seasons in the CFL, he was signed by the Seahawks prior to the 2011 season.
The 6'4" defensive back proceeded to make an immediate impact by intercepting six passes in his first season and being selected to the Pro Bowl.
Browner continued to play well in 2012 and 2013, but that was overshadowed by a pair of suspensions. There is definite risk involved with Browner, but the reward is immense as well.
Signing Browner would potentially be a major coup for the Pats after losing cornerback Aqib Talib to the Denver Broncos. New England has already replaced him with Darrelle Revis, but Browner would make the secondary even stronger.
His size makes him a very versatile player, and Mark Daniels of the Boston Herald speculates that a move to safety could be in the cards if a deal is struck:
You have to think the Patriots might try to convert Brandon Browner (6'4) to strong safety. It'd be nice to have some size in the secondary.— Mark Daniels (@mdaniels06) March 13, 2014
Whatever the case, Browner would make the Patriots defense better provided he is able to get back on the field and stay out of trouble.
New England has had success with problem players in the past, so there may be no better landing spot for Browner.
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