2:21pm: Howe clarifies (via Twitter) that the Pats’ decision on Browner is actually due tomorrow afternoon rather than today, so we may not see resolution on this situation for another 24 hours or so.
1:10pm: The Patriots have until today to decide on Brandon Browner‘s team option for the 2015 season, but it sounds like they may decide not pick it up. The Patriots would like to restructure his contract instead and have allowed the cornerback to explore his value around the league, a team source tells Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald.
If the Patriots exercise Browner’s option, he would count $4.8MM against the cap, but he would also earn a $2MM roster bonus on Tuesday. If they decline the option, they would save $4.8MM against the cap without any dead money, but re-signing him from that point could prove to be difficult. The team source indicated to Howe that his value on the open market might actually approach $7MM to $8MM per year thanks to the deals given to Byron Maxwell ($63MM over six years), Brandon Flowers ($36MM over four years) and Kareem Jackson ($34MM over four years) in the last couple days.
Browner, 31 in August, appeared in nine regular season games for the Patriots in his suspension-shortened season. He recorded 32 total tackles, seven pass deflections, and one interception during that time. Pro Football Focus (subscription required) wasn’t wowed by Browner’s performance in 2014, ranking him No. 79 out of 108 qualified cornerbacks.