Saints reach deals with defenders Browner, Humber
METAIRIE, La. (AP) — The New Orleans Saints made moves Thursday to fortify their defense, signing free-agent cornerback Brandon Browner to a three-year contract and linebacker Ramon Humber to a two-year deal.
Browner has been a starter on the past two Super Bowl winners: the 2013 Seattle Seahawks and 2014 New England Patriots.
The Saints are hoping the addition of Browner, 30, and the return of Humber, 27, fortify a defense that ranked second-to-last in the NFL last season.
Browner has started every game in which he has played and intercepted 11 passes during the past four seasons. He has also forced three fumbles and recovered one.
A former Canadian Football League player, Browner didn’t win a full-time job in the NFL until 2011 with Seattle. He intercepted six passes that year and was named to the Pro Bowl. He remained with the Seahawks for three seasons before spending one season in New England.
A person familiar with Browner’s contract said its total value approaches $18 million, a figure first reported by the NFL Network. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because financial terms were not announced.
The deal gives the Saints a pair of starting cornerbacks who are taller than 6 feet; Browner is 6-foot-4, while Keenan Lewis, the Saints’ top cornerback the past two seasons, is 6-1. Both Browner and Lewis also played at Oregon State in college.
Shortly after agreeing to his deal with New Orleans, Browner posted notes on the social media website Twitter thanking the Patriots and their fans for “a championship ride,” and thanking his agent, Peter Schaffer. He also posted a photo of himself wearing a dark gray suit and a Saints basketball cap as he signed his new contract.
Humber joined the Saints during the 2010 season and had his best campaign in 2014, when he started six games and was credited with 50 solo or assisted tackles, including a sack. His return puts him in the running to take over a starting inside linebacker spot following the recent release of Curtis Lofton, who started the past three seasons.
“Happy and excited to stay with the Saints” for the next two years, Humber wrote on his Twitter page. “Looking forward to be a part of something special.”
The deals with Browner and Humber came on the heels of several recent moves to give New Orleans more financial flexibility under the NFL’s salary cap. Last week, receiver Marques Colston agreed to a pay cut. The release of Lofton also saved money, as did the trades of star tight end Jimmy Graham to Seattle on Tuesday and starting left guard Ben Grubbs to Kansas City on Thursday.
The Saints received center Max Unger and a first-round draft choice for Graham and a fifth-round pick for Grubbs.
The Saints also decided against extending the contract of cornerback Patrick Robinson, a 2010 first-round pick, before he became a free agent on Tuesday afternoon.
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