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New Orleans Saints Cutting Brandon Browner: Smart Move or Not

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Due to Browner's own tweets the New Orleans Saints are apparently cutting ties with Cornerback Brandon Browner. Is this a smart move or not?

Where's the love gone???
Where's the love gone???
Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

First let's discuss the cap repercussions of such a move. The New Orleans Saints have 2 options in the cutting of Brandon Browner. They can make an immediate cut on February 8th, or use the June 1st cut designation. If an immediate cut/waiver is done on Monday the Saints would only save $950,000 against the cap. The good news with doing it this way would remove Browner's cap liability from next season. This could be the plan as Drew Brees' contract is expected to be extended and this would leave more room to push his cap hit into 2017. The bad news is Brandon would count $5.35 mil against this years cap. Yes this would add to an already staggering dead money pool of $ 14,804,847 for the 2016 season. This would bring the dead pool to $20,158,847. But wait. Don't expect the hemorrhaging to stop there. GM Mickey Loomis still has much more work to do in this offseason just to get to the 2016 season cap number, which is estimated to be in the neighborhood of $153 mil. The Saints also have a cap rollover amount from last season of $1,442,714. Many cuts and restructures will have to be done just to fall within the 2016 season cap restraints, so the dead pool will only continue to grow.

Now a June 1st designation would free up more cap savings in the long term but would push $1.3 mil of the cap hit into the 2017 season. This would free up $2.25 mil for this season. The problem with this move is we don't really have the cap space to do this. The Saints must be under the cap limit by March 9th of 2016. Browner's whole cap hit of $6.3 mil would count until June 1st. I gave an earlier look at the cap situation in another post, Past, Present, and Future: Saints Cap Challenges for 2016 and Beyond.

Now we can debate whether or not this is a smart move or just a necessary one. Brandon Browner's poor play in 2015 is well documented and fans have been calling for his head/benching for most of the season. It was obvious due to injuries and lack of better options, the Saints were more or less forced to play Browner in a position he was ill suited for. The big CB was always meant to be used as a press corner with safety help over the top, and not a cover corner against the speedy WRs he faced. Rafael Bush going on IR as well as a still recovering Jairus Byrd, made Browner a liability in the passing game. A record breaking 24 penalties called, 21 accepted, made the Saints the 31st passing defense in the NFL. The Saints defense gave up another record, 45 TDs, and allowed a 116.1 passer rating to opponents.

It could be argued the Browner could still help the team in 2016 with a returning healthy, Keenan Lewis and P.J.Williams, who also went on IR. Given Damian Swann's multiple concussions in 2015, I question whether or not the once promising CB should even pursue continuing his NFL career. Reminds me of Randall Gay and his issues late in his career. Browner would have to be played as a nickle back and his salary may just not justify his cap hit for 2016.