Turns out the Patriots are in fact going “all-in” this offseason — just not on the side of the ball most expected.
Two days after agreeing to terms with Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis, the Patriots further bolstered their secondary by agreeing with former Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner. He signed a three-year deal worth $17 million, according to reports.
“I am honored that the Patriots are making me part of their legendary organization, and am grateful for the opportunity Mr. Kraft, Coach Belichick, Nick Caserio and the entire team have given me,” Browner said on his Twitter account. “I intend to diligently work with the same passion and dedication that I have displayed since coming into the NFL to uphold the great traditions and qualities that are embodied by the Patriots.”
The Patriots haven’t addressed their offense yet in free agency — namely, who is going to catch the ball from Tom Brady — but their secondary is now loaded with talent after the additions of Revis and Browner.
It’s possible that Browner, 29, will be used as the No. 2 cornerback opposite Revis. The Patriots lost their tallest cornerback when Aqib Talib defected to Denver this week, but Browner is 6-4 and 220 pounds and one of the most physical defensive backs in the NFL.
It’s also possible that with solid depth already at cornerback with Revis, Alfonzo Dennard, Logan Ryan and Kyle Arrington, the Patriots could use Browner at strong safety, where they have a hole since cutting Steve Gregory last week.
Browner will be suspended without pay four games to start the 2014 season and docked an additional four weeks of pay for violation of the NFL’s drug policy. He was initially suspended indefinitely by the NFL in December, but had his punishment changed because one of his “failed” drug tests came as a result of missing a test when he played in the Canadian Football League from 2007-10.
Browner was originally an undrafted free agent for Denver in 2005 who injured himself during his rookie training camp, then was forced to play in Canada. He developed into an all-star in Canada and was signed by the Seahawks in 2011, who made him their starter opposite Richard Sherman. Browner had 10 interceptions in three seasons with Seattle and made the 2011 Pro Bowl, but was suspended for this past Super Bowl.Ben Volin can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @BenVolin