The Seahawks quietly gave veteran cornberback Brandon Browner a raise on Thursday. The exact amount is unclear, but a team spokesperson confirmed to Curtis Crabtree that the transaction that was listed as "Brandon Browner Signed, Renegotiated Contract" last night was not an contract extension, but just a raise in 2013. He'd be set to earn $555,000 this year, well below what high-value starting corners are worth. Prior to the raise, Seattle had $3.646 million in cap space.
This is a pretty uncommon occurrence (in fact I am not sure I've ever heard of this happening) so it'll be kind of interesting to hear the rationale. Typically teams, especially in this flat-cap era, are asking veterans to take pay-cuts or renegotiated contracts for less money to stay with the team, not giving them more money outside of the contractual agreements.
As Curtis Crabtree points out,
Browner lost $109,411 in base salary in 2012 due to a four-game suspension for a violation of the league's performance-enhancing drug policy and was also fined $7,875 for a personal four against Greg Jennings of the Green Bay Packers in Week 3. The pay raise for Browner could act as a pseudo-reimbursement for some of the lost pay from last season and as a reward for out playing the value of the contract he originally signed with the team.
Seattle certainly tries to espouse an 'in-house' family type of atmosphere with their players where they reward their guys for buying into the program and contributing to it - so I suppose this could be that 'good faith' attempt to literally buy some goodwill. Then again, as John Boyle says,
If the idea was just to give Browner a raise because he earned it--and it's safe to say he's outplayed his contract so far--that's great of the Seahawks, but in the cutthroat world of the NFL where veterans are routinely cut in the name of saving cap space, it would go against the grain to give a guy a raise in that situation if it doesn't come with a new deal that locks him up for a few years. And if the Seahawks are doing this as a good-faith move hoping it will encourage Browner to re-sign later, well that's putting a lot of faith in a player and agent to not decide down the road to still get whatever they can on the open market at a later date. And don't get me wrong, I wouldn't judge Browner for a second for getting all he can, not after toiling away in the CFL and waiting until he was 27 to breakthrough in the NFL.
Can't say I disagree. Either way, interesting move by the Hawks.