Why Pro Bowl CB can become free agent

Patrick from Oakland, Calif., and David from Anchorage, Alaska have reached out with questions about Seattle Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner's status as a potential free agent following the 2013 season.

I've written that Browner can become an unrestricted free agent after the 2013 season because he'll have four accrued seasons under the collective bargaining agreement. That includes the 2005 season Browner spent on injured reserve with the Denver Broncos.

Patrick and David questioned whether Browner would indeed receive credit for that season in Denver. If not, Browner would become only a restricted free agent after the 2013 season, buying time for the Seahawks regarding a potential contract extension.

Team, league and NFL Players Association sources have confirmed that Browner is indeed scheduled to become a UFA in 2014. Browner gets credit for that season with the Broncos.

Article 8 of the collective bargaining agreement defines accrued seasons as those during which a player was "on, or should have been on, full pay status for a total of six or more regular season games, but which, irrespective of the player's pay status, shall not include games for which the player was on: (i) the Exempt Commissioner Permission List, (ii) the Reserve PUP List as a result of a non-football injury, or (iii) a Club's Practice Squad."

There is no reference to the injured reserve list. The Broncos placed Browner on injured reserve in August, before the 2005 regular season. They released him in 2006.

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.

Browner, 28, earned Pro Bowl honors with Seattle following the 2011 season.