3:00pm: According to Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports (via Twitter), the Patriots have not informed Browner that they’ll exercise his 2015 option. He’ll now become a free agent.
1:56pm: Brandon Browner won’t take a pay cut to stay in New England, a source tells Albert Breer of NFL.com (on Twitter). At this point, New England’s options will be to exercise his option as it stands or cut him by 3pm CT. The cornerback is owed $5.5MM for 2015.
The Pats allowed him to gauge interest from other teams around the league and the interest is clearly there for the veteran, Breer tweets. Right now, his market is shaping up at $7MM-$8MM, Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald tweets. The Pats, meanwhile, would probably like to work out a deal that extends beyond 2015.
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.