A return to Foxborough is now out of the equation for Brandon Browner.
The former New England Patriots cornerback, who was permitted to explore his options around the NFL before the team declined his $4.8 million option on Tuesday, has signed a deal with the New Orleans Saints, the team announced Thursday afternoon.
It is a three-year pact worth roughly $18 million, according to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport.
Browner’s official departure from the Patriots’ secondary comes two days after Darrelle Revis left the sideline across from him. And with that one-two punch of Cover-1 man no longer including its first ingredient, it now is without its second.
The 30-year-old Browner signed a three-year, $16.8 million deal with New England with last March. His physical play, length, open-field tackling and leadership brought a unique blend to the position, even if those traits didn’t result in New England picking up his $2 million roster bonus at the start of the new league year.
They did, however, bring him suitors on the open market.
Rapoport reported Thursday morning that the 6-foot-4, 221-pound corner had an offer from the New Orleans Saints worth over $5 million per year. The 2010 Pro Bowler, who has also spent time with the Denver Broncos, Calgary Stampeders and Seattle Seahawks, was also scheduled to visit the Washington Redskins later this week, noted ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Browner started the final nine games of the regular season for the Patriots in 2014, covering long-striding receivers as well as tight ends both in the box and out.
He finished the campaign having allowed 31 catches for 455 yards and two touchdowns on 54 targets, as cited by Pro Football Focus. And he finished with 25 tackles, seven pass deflections and an interception, playing with the edge that saw him rack up 13 penalties.
That edge, though, proved worthwhile on the way to the Super Bowl against the team he once played Cover-3 for. And as No. 39 heads to New Orleans, it will be packed in his suitcase along with him.