It’s sad to say this, but Jon Beason is not the linebacker he once was. The Carolina Panthers had hoped that Beason could come back and make an impact after sustaining major injuries in the past two years, but he simply hasn’t been able to perform so far this season even in a much improved front seven.
Beason has already lost his starting job to Chase Blackburn, only getting one snap against the New York Giants, and he’s looked a few steps slow when he has played. It’s not Beason’s fault — anyone who suffered the injuries that Beason has would have trouble rounding into form, especially someone whose game relies so much on explosiveness and athleticism.
The bad news for Beason (not that there’s any good news) is that players don’t survive in the NFL if they can’t perform, even if they have equity built up from their past accomplishments. The Panthers need someone who can compete right now, and that man isn’t Beason.
The Panthers and the Giants have reportedly agreed on a trade that would send Beason to the Giants for a late-round pick, a move that is good for each franchise but bad for Beason’s ego. Blackburn will fill his spot and is a capable replacement, posting 98 tackles and three sacks for the Giants last year.
No one likes to be shipped off by the franchise that brought them into the league and fostered their success, but I believe this trade will be good for everyone. The Giants will get a player who is now an average linebacker, but one is that is still better than anyone on a Giants unit that might be the worst in the league.
Beason can surely make an impact in that circumstance — at least one that stands in contrast to the incompetence that will surround him, and that should boost his confidence.
On the other side, the Panthers will get a young player next year who could develop into an impact player, rather than one who appears to be on the decline. Panthers fans would love to see Hakeem Nicks involved in this trade, but the Giants would never make that trade unless Beason was healthy.