The Giants have acquired middle linebacker Jon Beason from the Panthers for a “late-round” draft pick. As Ozzy Osbourne would say, this is a “shot in the dark” by the Giants, a team that never spends a dime on prime linebacker talent. Retreads and depth chart climbers usually comprise our corps. On the bright side, there is limited inherent risk to bringing Beason in. This is the final year on his restructured contract, a restructuring that saw the former Miami Hurricane relinquish three years off his 2011 deal and agree to a $4.25 million pay cut from his $5.25 million yearly salary.
Despite having not played a defensive snap since week two, the 28-year old Beason is a potentially (with a capital P) sizeable upgrade over current MLB Spencer Paysinger. Paysinger plays his tail off, but his talent level suggests he should be working primarily on special teams. In fact, the entire Giants linebacker core is hardly NFL caliber.
Beason has battled debilitating injury problems during the past three seasons, from a torn Achilles in 2011 to knee and shoulder issues forcing him onto the IR in 2012. According to reports he is apparently still playing through pain on his surgically repaired knee. He lost the battle for weak side linebacker PT to former Giants hero Chase Blackburn, so playing well below standard would seem to be the logical assessment.
A peek into Beason’s recent performance is discouraging to say the least. He’s been targeted eight times in 31 coverage snaps, with all eight passes resulting in a completion. Furthermore, those eight completions have gone for 150 yards (long of 45) with 118 yards coming after the catch. He’s recorded seven solo tackles on 62 total snaps.
For all intents and purposes it appears his 100-tackle campaigns are a thing of the past. If he passes his physical today, we will soon find out on the gridiron.