Cornerback Brandon Browner is not a New England Patriot as of this writing, but it only seems like a matter of time before he is. Last night, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport came out and reported that the Patriots and Brandon Browner had agreed to a two year deal.
The report was quickly met by opposition from many other national and local reporters including Adam Schefter, Jason La Canfora, and Jeff Howe. Perhaps the strongest opposition came from Browner's agent himself, who told ProFootballTalk.com:
“It’s 100 percent untrue. I’ve got four teams to negotiate with. I’ve got irresponsible journalists who don’t check their facts putting this stuff out there, and my phone is blowing up when I’m trying to play hockey. I’ve got very little patience for irresponsible journalists who put this stuff out and ruin my night. My phone is going nuts. I just wanna play hockey."
If nothing was close, why would the report surface? Ian Rapoport is one of the best in the business, as Patriots fans know from his time in the Herald. He wouldn't go off of something that didn't seem concrete. And it turned out he didn't.
Because according to Rapoport and also supported by Albert Breer, Brandon Browner was telling people close to him that he had signed with the Patriots. In fact, Browner's soon to be former teammate Richard Sherman even sent him a congratulatory Tweet.
Even ESPN's Adam Schefter confirmed this morning what we all had suspected last evening:
A well-placed Patriots source: "Browner wants to be in NE, I think we are close, but it's a tough deal to do because of suspension, etc."— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 14, 2014
CB Brandon Browner is visiting Washington today, then plans to visit N.O. while his agent Peter Schaffer talks with New England and Oakland.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 14, 2014
So, what do we make of all of this?
1. The Patriots want Brandon Browner, and have offered him a two year deal.
2. Brandon Browner wants to be a Patriot, and was apparently pleased enough with the offer that they gave him that he felt comfortable to tell those close to him that he will become a Patriot.
3. Because of the stickiness of the contract negotiations due to his suspension, Browner's camp has to be cautious and therefore weigh the field. Perhaps they believe they can even get a little more money out of New England. Either way, they don't want to lose all their leverage.
At the end of the day, because of 1 and 2, Browner is likely to become a New England Patriot. My guess is we'll here something more concrete before the day is over. Of course, Browner is still visiting other teams, and anything can happen. But for now, the tea leaves point to Browner becoming a New England Patriot.
Update: So Brandon Browner might not be even visiting other teams after all:
Per Redskins source, Brandon Browner isn't in Washington. Club under the impression he might do a deal with the Patriots.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) March 14, 2014
Source: CB Brandon Browner is still in the Boston-area as of this early morning, at this time.— Josina Anderson (@JosinaAnderson) March 14, 2014
Just a matter of time before this is a done deal.
Update #2: Brandon Browner may indeed be visiting the Redskins this morning. Or he may not. Who knows? Yes, this is getting kind of ridiculous.