Since the end of the regular season, the New York Giants have made re-signing linebacker Jon Beason a priority. Today it appears they got their man, and that is a great move for Big Blue.
The Giants have been weak at linebacker for years. A combination of neglect and bad luck left the unit in it’s worse shape in the Tom Coughlin-era last season. Dan Connor went down with a neck injury early in the season, and Mark Herzlich replaced him at middle linebacker. The results were pretty bad, and the Giants wound up trading a seventh-round pick to acquire Beason from the Carolina Panthers.
What transpired was the complete revitalization of a defense that had been dormant for over a season. By the end of the year, the Giants found themselves ranked in the top 10 in total defense. Beason quickly learned the defensive calls and became a leader in the locker room. The middle linebacker spot is known as the quarterback of the defense; installing a leader and student of the game into that spot was a clear upgrade. He also showed the speed and instincts he had displayed in Carolina.
Beason was a first-round pick with the Panthers and a Pro Bowler, but injuries had derailed his career — he played in only five combined games from 2011-12. With the success of Luke Kuechly, the Panthers saw Beason as expendable.
He may still be a bit of an injury risk, but he has shown his value both on and off the field. He posted 93 tackles and an interception in 12 games for the Giants. With Justin Tuck and Terrell Thomas likely on their way out, the Giants are losing two defensive leaders. It would’ve been hard to lose a third. Now the Giants can focus on building on their defensive success last year, instead of starting over at what has proven to be one of the more important positions.