Did the Giants Make a Mistake Cutting Josh Brown?

Kicker Josh Brown Cut

kicker-josh-brownThe NFL has a problem. That problem is domestic violence. Ever since the famous Ray Rice video surfaced in 2014, the NFL has been trying and failing, to properly handle domestic violence cases. They looked foolish when that season saw a two-game suspension turn into an indefinite suspension subsequently followed by a neutral arbitrator overturning the whole thing. Since that point in time, Rice has never even tried out for a team, let alone been signed to one.

The same season as the Rice debacle we saw the Greg Hardy situation and Adrian Peterson get suspended for child abuse after a stint on the Commissioners’ Exempt list, otherwise known as paid Leave of Absence. The NFL immediately implemented a new domestic violence policy with a mandatory six-game suspension for first-time offenders. Two years later they are in the same situation with different faces, the New York Giants and their Pro-Bowl Kicker Josh Brown. Brown allegedly abused his former wife Molly Brown in many various forms on several separate occasions. Still, he was only suspended for the 2016 season opener as well as re-signed for two years during the offseason. When the full extent of his abuse was finally revealed, the Giants were forced to cut him.

[the_ad id=”66786″]With all the mistakes Commissioner Roger Goodell and the NFL have made, it is shocking that this is happening again. The NFL and its owners all claim to have a zero tolerance policy and a strong stance against domestic violence, but we are just not seeing the results yet. As an ethical move and to save face the Giants had no choice but to replace Brown with veteran Robbie Gould. Purely as football transactions go, though, did they make the right decision?

Gould is a career 85.5% field goal kicker with a career long of 58 yards and only 4 missed extra points, one each of the past three seasons and the fourth in his rookie season back in 2005. Brown, on the other hand, has only hit 83.9% of his career field goal attempts. He has only three missed extra points in 56 more tries than Gould and has the same personal record of 58 yards.

Brown has one Pro Bowl in his career, in 2015, which went awry as he was forced to be separated from his family for their safety. Gould also has one Pro Bowl to his name, but his came in 2006. Over the past three seasons, Gould’s statistics and abilities seem to have declined, with 2014 being the worst year of his career, whereas Brown seems to be still improving. Brown’s three years with the Giants have been three of the best in his career, peaking with the Pro Bowl nod for his career-best 134 total points for Big Blue. When you look at it that way, Brown looks to be a player on the rise while Gould is seemingly in decline.

However, as seen above, overall their stats are virtually the same. Two very different career arcs, Brown has spent time on several teams while Gould’s entire career has been with the Bears. As such, as the team’s total performance has declined, especially since an offense, so has Gould’s opportunities and therefore results. Gould is two years younger than Brown; it remains to be seen if a new team could help him improve.

Finally, the price. Brown was set to make $4 million over the next two seasons with a 2016 cap hit of $1.68 million and a 2017 hit of $2.25 million. Gould was signed before Week 7 to a one-year, pro-rated contract worth $985,000, with a cap hit of only $388,235. The Giants saved over half a million dollars this year, plus cap space, in exchange for a reliable veteran who is at worst only a slight decrease in on the field value.

On the surface, it would appear that the Giants had made a mistake in cutting Brown. However, it would seem that the mistake was re-signing him in the first place. They knew what he had done and knew there was going to be a suspension, yet they gifted him a new contract anyway, based on his Pro Bowl appearance the previous year. Brown may have had a career year in 2015, but so did Eli Manning, which may have had much to do with Brown’s success. Could Gould, a younger, cheaper veteran with better accuracy over his career be an improvement over Brown? It is risky enough that the Giants only did it out of necessity. Sometimes, though, when you do the right thing off the field, it turns out to be the best move on the field, too.

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