2013 Cap Hit – Wilson: $1,519,205; Brown: $2,023,000
Amount Remaining on Salary – Wilson: $6,684,502 ($5,382,979 guaranteed); Brown: $2,023,000 ($0 guaranteed)
The salaries for the New York Giants’ top two running backs subtly represent the different areas they are in their respective careers. Wilson, 22, is entering the second year of his 4-year rookie deal. Brown, 26, has been through multiple teams’ training camps before finding a nice role with the Giants.
This is less of a position battle because both guys will see plenty of action on the field this season (For what it’s worth, both will be drafted before Round 10 in fantasy leagues this year.) What makes this situation interesting, however, is Coach Tom Coughlin’s relationship with running backs in general. Coughlin (generally) doesn’t care about a contract or what the front office’s expectations for a particular player are. If Wilson’s fumbling problems resurface or he struggles to find holes in opposing defensive lines, the percentage of carries will tilt in Brown’s favor. If Wilson can show a little more of the electricity on display during his time at Virginia Tech and holds on to the ball, Coughlin will (perhaps begrudgingly) reward him with the ball.
The majority of the carries could prove to be great experience for Wilson, who figures to be on the roster until at least 2015. Brown could be gone next summer (and should he have a productive season, likely will be gone). But if the coaching staff believes Brown will give the Giants a better shot to win, he will see much more than his current third-down back role with the team.
Look for Wilson to have a bigger role early, but for Coughlin to lose trust at the season goes along. Brown was clearly a player that Coughlin enjoyed utilizing in different sets and situations before he went down with injury last season. Luckily for the Giants, I am not the coach. If it were up to me, I would be sending Henry Hynoski up the gut with the ball on downs one to three.