You would have thought Stevie Brown was one of the league's top free agents, considering how quickly the Giants re-signed him to a one-year deal last month. I won't go as far as to call it a surprise, but the Giants boasted the best safety tandem in the NFC East last season despite the fact that Brown missed the entire season with a torn ACL.
All of a sudden, New York's decision to keep Brown looks like one of the smartest moves of their offseason – which is a big statement, considering the Giants added 16 new players to the roster this spring.
We learned Tuesday that Will Hill, who was fantastic in 10 starts last year, is facing yet another suspension for violating the NFL's drug policy. Reports indicate Hill has violated the program for what would be his third year in a row – he served four-game suspensions in 2012 as well as 2013.
If you're keeping track, this latest news means Hill will have been suspended for at least part of every season of his career thusfar. His suspension in 2014 could be anywhere from six games to an entire season, according to reports. Even if he appeals the suspension, Hill's time with the Giants might be over depending on the team's frustration with him. It's pretty unfathomable to lose a player to suspension in three straight years for the same problem. [embedded_ad]
Hill's loss should be Brown's gain, though. Brown was aiming for a starting safety spot alongside Antrel Rolle until he injured his knee in a preseason game against the Jets. With Hill's success upon serving his suspension, it looked like untimely injury might have turned Brown into the odd man out.
The landscape looks different now – especially with the Giants' revamped secondary. New York brought in Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Walter Thurmond in free agency to team with Prince Amukamara.
The Giants could always draft a replacement, as Calvin Pryor and Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix figure to be available when New York picks at No. 12. But if Hill is unavailable, I imagine Brown has to be considered the favorite to start next to Rolle at safety – after all, he tallied 76 tackles and a whopping eight interceptions in 11 starts in 2012.
It makes me wonder if the Giants had reason to suspect they'd have need of quality depth behind Hill. Or maybe it was just good foresight by the team's front office. Either way, the decision to retain Brown's services keeps the Giants from having to panic about the safety spot.