As Mike Sando pointed out recently, Brandon Browner is, in fact, due to become an unrestricted free agent following the 2013 season. There had been some question about whether or not Browner's first year in the league (on the injured reserve with the Denver Broncos) would count as an accrued season or not under the current collective bargaining agreement, but "Team, league and NFL Players Association sources have confirmed that Browner is indeed scheduled to become a UFA in 2014," Sando reports, because, "According to an NFL spokesman, players receive credit for an accrued season if they spend at least six games on the active list, inactive list, injured reserve list or the reserve/PUP list."
This is an interesting development in that I think most of us around here were under the assumption that Browner would only become an RFA after this season, giving the Seahawks another year of club control (or some control, anyway), and giving them more options contract-wise. That said, the fact that Browner's now going to be playing in the final year of his deal makes the Tharold Simon pick that much more logical, outside of obvious scheme fit. Simon will join a crowded defensive backfield with Browner, Richard Sherman, Antoine Winfield, Jeremy Lane, Byron Maxwell, Walter Thurmond, DeShawn Shead, Ron Parker, Will Blackmon, and Chandler Fenner (not to mention several UDFA types and tryouts). The competition at that position is stiff and Thurmond, Maxwell, and Lane will be fighting tooth and nail with Simon for those precious roster spots at the position.
It remains to be seen whether or not the Seahawks will try to retain their Pro Bowl cornerback opposite Richard Sherman after 2013, as he approaches 30 years old, but after seeing the very tepid cornerback market during this offseason, perhaps they'll indeed find a way to afford him on a modest(ish) veteran deal. I was unsure if Seattle would attempt to re-sign Kam Chancellor because of some deficiencies in coverage, but after seeing the deal they gave to their principal intimidator/enforcer in the secondary, it wouldn't surprise me to see them try to keep Browner as well, because he plays a somewhat similar role as that thuggee goon on the outside. Browner has his deficiencies, but you don't find many 6'4, 225 pound press corners that hit like linebackers and can intimidate/harass opposing receivers as well as Browner.
Sherman and Browner are close friends off the field, and as talented and skilled as Sherman is, he takes a very different tactic in defending opposing players. Sherman's the baiter - playing just off enough to coerce a throw, only to jump the route and make the pick. Browner doesn't share that talent, but for what he gives up in coverage, he makes up in pure physicality. The Chancellor re-signing reenforces the notion in my head that Seattle very much wants to be an intimidating force on defense - and makes it a little more likely that they'll pursue Browner for a second deal, as long as Browner wants to stick around (there's just not a ton of room in the budget for him, I would guess, especially considering they have to re-sign Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman as well).
Regardless, it's something to watch.