After his four-year career with the Saints bottomed out when he lost his starting job at left tackle to rookie Terron Armstead, Charles Brown will seek to rebuild his on-field reputation with the New York Giants, who offered him his next opportunity in the NFL.
The Giants on Tuesday announced they signed Brown to a free agent deal. Neither the terms nor length of the contract were disclosed.
A 2010 second-round pick out of Southern California by New Orleans, Brown landed on injured reserve two of his first three seasons and started just eight games during that time span. It seemed 2013 was going to be his big shot — he beat out Armstead and veteran Jason Smith in training camp for the starting gig at left tackle, which opened up after two-time Pro Bowler Jermon Bushrod left the Saints for Chicago in free agency.
It’s safe to say last year did not go as either Brown or the Saints would have hoped. He led the offensive line in penalties, sacks and pressures allowed before a disastrous Week 15 outing in St. Louis ended his tenure as a starter.
En route to a 27-16 loss to a Rams team that entered the matchup 5-8, Brown surrendered a pair of sacks to defensive end Robert Quinn and was penalized twice on the Saints’ final drive of the first half. One of those penalties nullified an 8-yard touchdown pass that would’ve cut into a 21-point deficit. His mistake was magnified when a 36-yard field-goal try was blocked.
The Saints benched Brown after their opening possession of the second half. Armstead started at left tackle for New Orleans’ final four games of the season, two of which were in the playoffs.
Armstead settled in and performed well after a tough first half in his debut, a Week 16 defeat at Carolina. It wasn’t enough to prevent Saints quarterback Drew Brees from being sacked 37 times in 2013, 11 more than he ever had been in New Orleans, but it was enough for most to conclude Armstead had made Brown dispensable.
Recently asked to reflect on the play the Saints saw at left tackle during the 2013 campaign, coach Sean Payton was polite about Brown, saying, “I think that Charles came in and did a good job for us, but it was nice to have had a chance to evaluate Terron and then see the production we got from him.
“That clears things up a little bit as you approach the draft as opposed to getting through the season possibly not playing and maybe not having the exposure, too. I think he got better each week.”
Brown, who became an unrestricted free agent on March 11 and visited New York a little more than a week later, appears to be headed to the Giants to provide depth on the offensive line. The incumbent tackles are Will Beatty (left; recovering from a broken leg) and Justin Pugh (right).