Did Brandon Browner sign a contract with the New England Patriots? Or not? No one outside of the Patriots inner circle and Browner’s agent seems to know, and there continue to be conflicting reports about the free agent Seattle Seahawks cornerback.
But reports that Browner had actually inked a deal with the Patriots would appear to be contradicted by further reports that he paid a visit to Washington on Friday morning, where he could be negotiating with that NFC team.
Brandon Browner’s marketability is hampered somewhat because he is currently serving a suspension for violating the NFL policy on performance-enhancing drugs. He tested positive for the prescription psychiatric medication Adderal, used to treat patients with Attention Deficit Disorder.
The suspension will cause the 2011 Pro Bowl selection Browner to miss the first four games of the 2014 season.
On Thursday, NFL Network correspondent Ian Rapoport reported that the Patriots had reached a two-year deal with Browner. Even with the signing of five-time Pro Bowl pick Darrelle Revis this week, New England still needs to strengthen its pass coverage at the cornerback position.
But Adam Schecfter, NFL reporter for rival TV cable network ESPN, quickly countered Rapoport’s assertion, saying that he had contacted the agent for Brandon Browner, Peter Schaffer, who said that Browner was “not even close” to a deal with the Patriots — or with any of the four teams currently negotiating for the former Seahawk’s services.
Rapoport then offered a counter of his own, saying Brandon Browner himself had told friends he was headed to New England.
Finally Richard Sherman, a teammate and friend of Brandon Browner on the Seahawks, tweeted a hearty message of congratulations to his “brother” Brandon Browner — but Sherman didn’t say for what.
Congrats to @bbrowner27 my brother so excited for you!!!!
— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25) March 14, 2014
On Friday morning a “well-placed source” told Schecfter that Browner and the New England Patriots are indeed negotiating, and that New England is where Browner wants to play, even though he made a stop in Washington that day.
“Browner wants to be in New England,” the unnamed source told Schecfter, apparently by e-mail or text message. “I think we are close, but it’s a tough deal to do because of suspension, etc.”
The terms of the NFL suspension allow Brandon Browner to attend training camp with whatever team he signs with in 2014, and even play in preseason games. But Browner will be forced to sit out the first 25 percent of the 2014 NFL reglar season.