Top 10 Worst free agents signed by the Saints
10. James “Tootie” Robbins
9. Grady Jackson
8. Eric Allen
7. Wally Williams
6. Dale Carter
5. Jason David
4. Andre Royal
3. Albert Connell
Today – the #2 man on the list – Brandon Browner
You knew this name was coming. It was a signing that made little sense when it was made, and as the 2015 season wore on, the move looked all the worse.
There was a time when Browner was actually a good (not great) player: When Brandon Browner came into the league in 2011 from the CFL, he made the pro bowl after notching six interceptions, and scored two TDs. At 6’4”, 221 lbs., he was an intimidating, physical corner, who simply destroyed receivers with his initial jam. Together with Kam Chancellor, Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman, they formed the Legion of Boom.
This was a secondary known for physical play and forcing turnovers. In 2013, the Legion of Boom (sans Browner who sat out with an injury), blew out the Saints in the regular season then, beat them again in the playoffs. The Seahawks would go on to crush Peyton Manning in the Super Bowl.
So it really shouldn’t come as any surprise that those factors put Browner on Payton’s short list of potential free agent signings.
But first, Browner would go to New England, and win another Super Bowl –defeating his old team.
Browner won a Grey Cup, and two Super Bowls, named to the pro bowl, and all pro since leaving Oregon. So why did it go so wrong?
Several reasons: first, Browner served two drug related suspensions. First, for testing positive for a prescription medication, then for missing tests -which is the same as failing one.
Secondly, the Legion of Boom pushed the envelope as far as physical play, joking “They can’t call everything.”
The league heard that and responded with, “challenge accepted.”aa
Beginning in 2014, Browner became a penalty magnet. The Patriots tried to limit the damage, by moving Browner all over the field and keeping him in the slot, backing off on playing receivers tight.
When the Saints signed him in 2015, they made him a starter, and encouraged press, man to man coverage –which just invited penalties. Browner set an NFL record with the most penalties by a corner since the league began tracking such things in 1999.
So once again, the Saints went after a cornerback who was extremely productive in another system, thinking he would be just as productive with the Saints.
Brandon Browner signed a 3 year, $15 million deal, but would be released after his horribly ineffective first season. Browner was rated the least productive corner in football, but one play defined Browner’s time with the Saints:
It was against the Redskins, and a simple screen play. The Redskins had the play blocked perfectly, but Browner had a clear shot the ball carrier. Instead, he specifically targeted a blocker for some unknown reason, allowing the Redskins to make a big play in a blowout win over the Saints.
Browner consistently made dumb plays like that, grabbing players unnecessarily (drawing flags), allowing himself to get caught out of position -giving up big plays; or the Saints simply would call defenses that would leave Browner exposed against the opponent’s best/fastest receiver.
Unlike Jason David, Browner didn’t even have interceptions to remotely balance out his poor play.
After the Saints released him, Browner initially said all the right things on social media –until a fan had a comment, and Browner responded that he “took the Saints millions and ran with it”… cementing his legacy as the most hated Saints player for this generation of fans.