The dawn of the NFL offseason is officially upon us. That makes it decision time for all NFL teams on whether to re-sign veterans or cut ties and move on at the position. The Giants have a number of excruciating assessments to make on some of their middling units including their secondary. One decision that needs to be made is the future of free safety Stevie Brown.
Brown was a standout on a mediocre defense two seasons ago, but has battled injuries and blatant ineffectiveness in the past couple of years. Furthermore the Giants secondary was brutal in 2014 and Brown was benched for a replacement-level player in Quintin Demps mid-season. The Giants will be exploring options at both safety positions with the impending free agency of Brown and fellow starting safety Antrel Rolle, who both are coming off lackluster 2014 campaign’s.
Let’s take a look at what Brown brings to the table.
Stevie Brown is a legitimate NFL safety. If the Giants don’t elect to keep him, Brown will surely find work elsewhere in the league. As the 251st pick in the 7th round of the 2010 NFL Draft Brown has far outperformed expectations for his career.
The 2012 season was the golden era of Stevie Brown. He received a reputation as a ball-hawk during that season, where he created 10 turnovers including 8 interceptions. He was 2nd in the NFL in interceptions that season and looked like a potential long-term piece to the secondary. Unfortunately Brown suffered the all too common fate of a torn ACL prior to the start of the 2013, and was unable to take the field at all. He relies heavily on the instinct of being in the right place at the right time that can run hot and cold, but at the very least he is a serviceable member in a secondary rotation.
Following the 2012 season Brown appeared poised to be break into the upper-echelon of NFL safeties. But after taking a closer look at those plays it is clear that Brown was opportune recipient of luck on numerous instances. Many of his interceptions take place on overthrows and misread coverages and are not indicators of elite ball-skills.
Interceptions often have a considerable element of luck, and it is the primary reason why the league leaders flip on a yearly basis. Many mediocre defensive backs have been fiscally rewarded and generated high expectations as a result of fluky seasons inflated by favorable interception totals. Players like Walt Harris, Carlos Rogers and Devin McCourty are just a few examples.
After losing all of 2013 Stevie didn’t show the same turnover creation ability that he provided in 2014 that he did in his breakout campaign. He ultimately ended the season with 0 turnovers created, a prolonged benching, and several major miscues in coverage. His performance resembled a backup player in a secondary group that might be better suited with new faces at safety.
Let Stevie go. He isn’t the future at free safety as a starter and I believe the Giants are interested in rebuilding the back end of the defense. It’ll be a target in the draft for New York and they could really use the infusion of youth into the secondary.