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Devil's Advocate: Did the New Orleans Saints Make a Mistake in Releasing Brandon Browner?

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How dare you even think it!?

Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Saints officially released Cornerback Brandon Browner last week. Laissez les bons temps rouler. But is it possible that maybe, just maybe, the Saints didn't make the right move in releasing him?

Let me start by saying that I fully support the Saints' decision in releasing him. I was also one of the many fans in the Mercedez-Benz Superdome in the Saints final home game against the Jacksonville Jaguars that boo'ed Browner in his introductions (and then yelled and cheered as loud as I could for Delvin Breaux). Call me a bad fan. Say what you want. I was not a fan of the Brandon Browner signing when it happened, and I was not a have of him up until his release.

But maybe the Saints shouldn't have released him so soon.

We're talking about a Pro Bowler and two-time Super Bowl Champion, with the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII, and then the following year with the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX. (Granted, he actually did not play in Super bowl XLVIII, but he did contribute in the 2013 NFL regular season to help the Seahawks reach the Super Bowl.)

His penalties last season were well-documented. He became the most penalized player in NFL history. But guess what? The Saints knew he was this type of player when they signed him last offseason. He led the NFL in penalties in both 2011 and 2014. The first time he led the league in penalties, 2011, was his Pro Bowl year. In 2014, his year with the New England Patriots, he only played in nine games, and still led the league in penalties that year. The Saints knew (or at least should have known) exactly the type of player they were getting in Brandon Browner. (These are exactly the reasons I did not like the Brandon Browner signing when it was announced.)

But is it possible that Brandon Browner could have succeeded - or at least not been a complete dumpster fire - in New Orleans if used differently? Brandon Browner is a big, physical Cornerback, who plays well against the line of scrimmage. He stuffed Jermaine Kearse at the line on the final play of Super Bowl XLIX, allowing his teammate Malcolm Butler to pick off Russell Wilson to prevent the go-ahead touchdown. He recorded 76 combined tackles last season. Granted, the vast majority of those tackles you could attribute to getting burned in coverage, but not all of them.

Think of Brandon Browner like a Cornerback version of former New Orleans Saints Safety Roman Harper. Old Grey Beard was not a ball-hawking Safety the likes of Ed Reed or even Jairus Byrd, but Roman could jam players at the line of scrimmage and put pressure in the backfield of opposing offenses.

With the Saints choosing to delay Browner's release, they were able to defer a portion of Browner's dead cap hit. Even still, Browner costs the Saints over $6.3M to not play for them over the next two years. Should the Saints have considered trying to play him differently? With the amount of money invested in Browner, would it really do any harm to at least try to minimize his play in coverage on passing downs? Obviously he's not a bad presence in the locker room as he was named a team captain last season (but then again, so was Junior Galette the year before...).  In releasing him, the Saints are paying Browner over $6 million to not have a chance at finding out if he might have been useful to the team in another way.

So what says you? Should the Saints have tried using him differently? Would it have mattered? Vote in the poll. Explain in the comments. Send me presents.