Brandon Browner to join the Patriots on 3-year deal

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Browner will be suspended for the first four games of the 2014 season, but will impact the New England secondary opposite Darrelle Revis upon his return.

A tumultuous few months for Brandon Browner took another positive turn as he agreed to a three-year deal with the New England Patriots, according to Josina Anderson of ESPN.

Not long ago, it looked like Browner wasn't even going to play football in 2014, yet alone cash in with a free agent deal. He was suspended indefinitely late in the season for a substance-abuse violation. That suspension would have run through nearly the entire 2014 season and kept Browner from even hitting the free agent market, yet alone finding a suitor. The suspension was lifted recently, however, just in time for Browner to become a free agent.

2013 season review

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It was a rocky 2013 season for Browner, both on and off the field. The year got off to a lucrative start as the Seahawks, in a show of good faith, rewarded Browner with a raise for the 2013 season worth slightly less than $220,000, according to NFL.com. On the field, his year didn't get off to as good of a start with a hamstring injury keeping him off the field for the first two weeks of the season. He returned in Week 3 and started the next eight games, recording 10 pass deflections and an interception before a groin injury knocked him out of the lineup.

While he was sidelined, news broke that Browner had violated the NFL's substance-abuse policy. He was facing an indefinite suspension but remained eligible through the appeal. Although he was eligible, the groin injury kept him off the field. He was eventually suspended indefinitely in December, missing the final two games of the regular season and Seattle's run to the Super Bowl.

That indefinite suspension was going to keep him off the free agent market this season, but Browner was reinstated by the NFL in early March after the league and his representatives came to an agreement. Browner was reportedly set to sue the NFL, as he argued he should have never been elevated into Stage 3 of the drug program, which led to the indefinite suspension. Browner moved up in the program due to missing tests while he was out of the NFL and playing in Canada.

On the field, Browner finished with a positive-2.8 grade, according to Pro Football Focus.

Contract history

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Browner signed with Denver after going undrafted in 2005. He landed on injured reserve that season before being released. Following a few years in the CFL, Browner signed with Seattle in 2011. He made close to the league minimum his first two seasons before earning $773,756 last season, according to OverTheCap.com. His 2013 salary was increased by the raise from Seattle, but he did lose roughly $95,000 due to the suspension and missed out on the postseason bonuses.

Other suitors?

While he proved to be an effective starter in Seattle, some teams shied away from Browner on the open market. His history with suspension could have been one factor -- he was suspended four games for a performance-enhancing drug violation in 2012 -- but his style of play was likely the bigger factor. Browner excelled in Seattle's physical, press-man coverage style. Browner's style doesn't fit every scheme around the NFL. Byron Maxwell excelled in his place for the Seahawks, and Seattle's salary cap situation made a return unlikely.

The Jaguars would have made a lot of sense as a potential suitor, especially with former Seattle defensive coordinator Gus Bradley running the show in Jacksonville. However, the Patriots have been willing to spend money to fix their secondary in 2014.

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