Former Carolina Panthers linebacker Jon Beason is starting Week 5 for a different team. Beason will be lined up on the New York Giants defense facing the powerful Chicago Bears. The trade was completed after Beason passed his physical.
Beason was drafted in 2007 out of the University of Miami by the Panthers. He finished with 140 tackles and second place for the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award in his rookie season. From his first season to 2010, he led the Panthers in tackles and was a dominant and consistent player. He was a leader on the defense and was well respected by his teammates, coaches, and opponents. The year 2011 was the start to some injuries that plagued Beason. Between 2011-2012, Beason only played in five games total due to major injuries and surgeries.
Despite his past injuries, Beason was expected to come back in 2013 strong and healthy. He started the first two games for the Panthers before being replaced by former Giants linebacker Chase Blackburn. Beason was simply being out performed by Blackburn, and he also was questionable with minor injuries. However, those injuries didn’t prevent Beason from starting or playing in games.
Panthers head coach Ron Rivera decided to seek a trade with the Giants, a desperate team in need of some veteran help. The Giants offered a late round pick in the 2014 draft for Beason assuming he passed his physical.
Beason was a leader and is currently in second place behind former safety Mike Minter for all-time tackles for the Panthers. Although Beason had his health issues, he should have been given more than two weeks to come back and make his statement. Beason went into Rivera’s office and stated his disappointment and claimed he still wants to be a starter for the team. Rivera wasn’t happy, but stated that the organization will stick with Blackburn as the starter.
I am not knocking Blackburn. He is a great veteran player who has a few Super Bowl rings and led the Giants in tackles last season. I also don’t know the financial aspects of the deal that affected the trade. However, I do believe a healthy Beason is worth a lot more than a late round draft pick. Beason was cleared by doctors before the trade, and since the trade, he has started the game for the Giants. He carries a lot of value to whichever team he plays for. He has heart, skill that has already been proven in the NFL, leadership, experience and maturity.
The Panthers made their first mistake cutting veteran Drayton Florence, and it showed when the Panthers had to re-sign him. The Panthers may have gotten the lower end of the bargain trading Beason for a late-round draft pick. However, this time, the Panthers won’t be able to re-sign him.