By: Steve Balestrieri
The Patriots secondary got another shot in the arm with the signing on Friday of Brandon Browner. (USA TODAY Images)
Like the Canadian Mounties, the Patriots finally got their man oCanadian Mounties, the Patriots finally got their man n Friday night as Brandon Browner the free-agent cornerback from the Seattle Seahawks signed a 3 year deal worth a reported $17 million dollars to bring his talents to the Pats.
It’s been a crazy day as the Browner deal was announced late Thursday night followed by a denial and reports that no deal was signed and he was visiting with the Washington Redskins on Friday. But apparently, Browner stayed in the area and the two sides worked on the deal until it was announced on Friday evening.
Upgrades the Secondary: Browner 29, joins Darrelle Revis in totally revamping the Patriots secondary. The Patriots back end of the defense is now (on paper) one of the strongest units in the NFL. Revis is universally thought of as the best cornerback in the league and now Browner brings the size element to a unit that could really use it.
Browner excels in press coverage and at 6’4, 220 is one of the biggest corners in the league. But perhaps the most intriguing thing about Browner is his versatility. He can line up across from Revis and present a very potent duo at the cornerback position with Alfonzo Dennard, Logan Ryan and Kyle Arrington also in the mix gives tremendous depth.
Just a view days ago, Patriots fans were clamoring for the team to do something as free agent Aqib Talib bolted for the Denver Broncos. In the snap of a finger the Patriots have upgraded the secondary giving them one of the better units in the league.
Versatility: With Devin McCourty as the centerfielder at FS, another intriguing possibility would be moving Browner to SS where his size would give him the ability to easily match-up with the larger wide receivers and tight ends which shall give the Patriots essentially five cornerbacks on the field in nickel packages since McCourty is a converted corner as well. Browner has played some safety when he first entered the league so it isn’t a completely foreign position for him.
The Patriots really wanted Adrian Wilson to be that physical presence in sub-packages at the “Money” position subbing for a linebacker and Browner could easily fulfill that role as well. One area that the Patriots other corners have been lacking in is size as Dennard, Ryan and Arrington aren’t the biggest of guys and now with Browner they get an influx of needed size and physicality.
However they decide to utilize him, at corner, at safety….both, Browner makes the Patriots secondary much stronger and more physical. They are a deep and talented unit now with Revis essentially locking down one side of the field; Bill Belichick has a lot of pieces in which to tinker with the other.
At least initially thru the first four games of the season, the Patriots will be without Browner as he’ll have to serve a league mandated suspension, but he will be able to participate in all off-season activities as well mini-camps, training camp and the pre-season games.
Which means that second year safety Duron Harmon will get the starting reps next to McCourty at safety and Dennard, Ryan and Arrington will get to showcase their talents for the first month opposite Revis.
The Patriots defense still has some holes to fill notably with some depth needed at Defensive End with an added edge rusher, defensive tackle, and the Vince Wilfork situation that still needs to be addressed as well as at Linebacker but in just the first few days of Free Agency, this promises to be a much stronger unit than took the field in 2013. Stay tuned….