Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner signed a new contract Thursday, but not an extension. According to the transactions page on the league’s website, Browner “signed renegotiated contract,” which initially would make you think he signed an extension seeing as he is entering the final year of the three-year deal he signed before the 2011 season. But as it turns out, according to a team spokesman, Browner did not sign an extension, but rather a contract that gives him a raise for this year.
Now if that seems a bit odd to you, that’s probably because this isn’t usually how things play out in the NFL. As of this afternoon, the Seahawks had $3.646 million in cap space, so they certainly would have room to give Browner a raise, but that money can also be rolled over to next year when the team will be trying to lock up some of their young talent such as safety Earl Thomas, who currently has two years left on his deal. So 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.