London Fletcher Free Agency Speculation: Why the New York Giants Are a Great Fit

Field YatesCorrespondent IIIApril 9, 2012

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 30: London Fletcher #59 of the Washington Redskins celebrates after interceping a pass in the end zone during NFL game action against the Buffalo Bills at Rogers Centre on October 30, 2011 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

Few NFL players have defied their age in recent years more than veteran linebacker London Fletcher.

In 2011, at the age of 36 and in the 14th year of his career, Fletcher amassed 166 tackles and captained a Redskins defense that was better than the team's record would suggest.

In fact, Fletcher has totaled over 116 tackles in each of the last 12 seasons and leads all active NFL players with 1,782 career stops. Despite his age and stature (he's just 5'10" tall), he remains one of the better hit and run linebackers in all of football.

The Giants, who sit pretty as the most recent Super Bowl champions, could vastly benefit from the addition of Fletcher, who has most recently spent five seasons with division rival Washington.

After losing middle linebacker Jonathan Goff to an ACL tear early in 2011, New York was forced to play with athletically-limited Chase Blackburn and rookie Jacquian Williams in the middle.  Goff should be back to full strength entering 2012, but coming off of a major knee injury, he will need time to regain his stamina and durability for a full season of work.

Fletcher, however, would offer an upgrade over each member of the trio mentioned above, as well an abundance of veteran leadership and locker room presence.

The Giants have built their organization through the draft by adding cornerstone pieces like Eli Manning, Justin Tuck, Jason Pierre-Paul and Terrell Thomas, while supplementing through free agency with shrewd pickups such as David Baas, Kevin Boothe, Deon Grant and Steve Weatherford.

Fletcher would signal a continuation of that trend and immediately shore up the middle of the Giants' defense. 

What remains to be seen in Fletcher's future is the amount of money and number of years he can command on a contract.  Despite his ageless performance, teams may hesitate to commit to him on a multiple year deal.

But be it on a one-year or multiple year contract (that's a gamble I'd take), London Fletcher and the New York Giants are a worthwhile match.