The Seahawks are cutting cornerback Brandon Browner, an original member of the Legion of Boom whose return to the team this year did not last past the final preseason game.
The reunion of Brandon Browner to the Legion of Boom as well as his transition to a new role as a safety turned out to be a short one.
The Seahawks confirmed Monday that they have cut the veteran cornerback as the team begins the process of paring the roster from 90 to 75 by Tuesday at 1 p.m. Seattle time.
Browner was re-signed to much fanfare in April after having been released by the New Orleans Saints, with Seattle bringing him back with the idea that he could make the switch to a hybrid role as a safety/nickel back.
But Browner did not move past the third team at safety as Kelcie McCray earned the job as the backup at both the free and strong safety positions while undrafted rookie free agent Tyvis Powell also made a move up the depth chart as a safety and special teamer. Browner had also appeared to fall behind Steven Terrell on the depth chart at safety.
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While the Seahawks had not used Browner as anything but a backup safety in the preseason, coach Pete Carroll had hinted last week that the team might just be keeping that part of his role under wraps.
“I think we’re pretty clear on his strengths,” Carroll said last week. “He’s shown enough stuff where we know where he’s best at and we feel pretty comfortable with that.”
But a week later, the Seahawks have decided to end the experiment before the final preseason game has been played.
Browner, who turned 32 earlier this month, played for the Seahawks from 2011-13 during which time the secondary made its rise to earn the Legion of Boom moniker. At 6-4, 220 pounds, Browner’s size and physicality helped the Seahawks become known as one of the toughest secondaries in the NFL.
Browner, though, was hurt and then suspended for a violation of the league’s substances of abuse policy late in the 2013 season and did not play in the playoffs as the Seahawks won their first Super Bowl.
After becoming a free agent, he signed with the Patriots where he helped New England beat Seattle in Super Bowl XLIX, providing interference on the route of Ricardo Lockette that helped result in an interception by Malcolm Butler that turned the game the Patriots’ way.
He spent last year with New Orleans where he started all 16 games for a Saints team that had one of the NFL’s worst pass defenses.
Browner, though, had struggled with a knee injury and he and Seattle coaches each said they hoped that a return to full health would also mean a return to the form he showed during his first stint in Seattle.
Browner signed a low-risk deal with Seattle, a one-year contract for the veteran minimum of $600,000 with no money guaranteed. Browner was willing to accept that deal in part because the Saints still owe him $2.75 million in base salary for this season.
Browner’s only preseason statistics were two tackles, apparently the last two he will make as a Seahawk.
Seattle will have to either release or otherwise remove 14 players from the roster by Tuesday to get to the 75-player limit. The Seahawks will then have to get to 53 by Saturday.
Another veteran some have speculated could be in danger as center Patrick Lewis, who like Browner played with the third team in Thursday’s third preseason game against Dallas. As explained here, Justin Britt has earned the starting center job while rookie Joey Hunt played ahead of Lewis on Thursday. Lewis has a $1.67 million salary for this season, meaning the team could save roughly $1.2 million by going with Hunt as a backup center, instead.
Browner is the second member of the Super Bowl-winning 2013 team that was re-signed by the Seahawks in the off-season, the other being defensive end Chris Clemons. Neither will make it to the regular season, with Clemons deciding to retire shortly before training camp began (the Seahawks also recently re-signed defensive tackle Tony McDaniel from that team with McDaniel appearing set to earn a spot on the 53-man roster).