Texans, Stevie Brown agree to 1-year deal

ByDan Graziano and Tania Ganguli via ESPN logo
Thursday, April 30, 2015

Former New York Giants safety Stevie Brown has agreed on a one-year contract with the Houston Texans, a source close to the situation confirmed Wednesday night.

With Brown's addition, the Texans will have six safeties on their roster, including free-agent pickup Rahim Moore, 2013 second-round draft pick D.J. Swearinger, Eddie Pleasant, Lonnie Ballentine, who was the last pick in the 2014 draft, and Terrance Parks.

Moore is expected to be the Texans' starting free safety while Swearinger has seen significant playing time at strong safety. In 2014 he started 12 games, entering the other four later. Swearinger seemed to fall out of favor with the Texans' coaching staff as the season wore on, splitting more and more time with safety Danieal Manning. Manning was with the Texans on a one-year deal and was not re-signed.

The Texans have interest in moving Swearinger through a trade, although Texans general manager Rick Smith declined to speak specifically to reports indicating that.

Texans coach Bill O'Brien has spoken repeatedly about the team's need to strengthen its safety depth, something that could also happen through the draft.

Brown, who will turn 28 in July, is the second of the three safeties who started a game for the Giants in 2014 to depart via free agency. The first was Antrel Rolle, who signed with the Chicago Bears. The other is Quintin Demps, who remains unsigned.

The Giants made little effort to re-sign Brown, who intercepted eight passes for them in 2012 but missed all of 2013 because of a torn ACL and struggled through a difficult 2014 season along with the rest of the Giants' defense. It is believed that they never moved off their initial offer of one year for the veteran minimum or something close to it, which indicates that they didn't see Brown as a vital solution to their safety problem but rather another piece they'd have been willing to add to the training camp competition.

The safeties currently on the Giants' roster are 2014 fifth-round pick Nat Berhe, 2014 fifth-round pick Cooper Taylor and former Colts defensive back Josh Gordy, who signed as a free agent. The Giants are planning to try to convert cornerbacks Chykie Brown and Bennett Jackson to safety this offseason, and it's likely they'll address the position in the early rounds of the NFL draft, which begins Thursday night.

Brown, who played at Michigan, was selected in the seventh round of the 2008 draft by the Raiders, but he didn't see NFL game action until 2010, when he played 15 games for Oakland. He was with Indianapolis the following season before joining the Giants in 2012.

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