New York Giants: Big Blue Should Look to Re-Sign Chase Blackburn in 2013
In a defense that was marred with inconsistency and, at times, really bad play, Blackburn was one of the most consistent and even best players of the unit in 2012.
The 29-year-old recorded 94 total tackles with three sacks and one interception for the Giants last season while playing and starting in 15 games.
When the season started, some felt that Blackburn would be pushed for the starting job by Mark Herzlich, but Blackburn really never let go of the position by continuing to play well all year long.
Now a free agent, the Giants have to decide if they want to bring back the eight-year veteran for another season or decide to pursue other options.
Will Chase Blackburn be with the Giants in 2013?
According to Paul Schwartz of the New York Post, the Giants are actually trying to re-sign Blackburn before he hits the free-agent market on March 12.
The Giants have already released veterans Michael Boley and Chris Canty in an effort to get younger and get under the salary cap.
While Blackburn will turn 30 during training camp, he's still a veteran the Giants want to bring back because he stabilizes the position and the entire defense.
Sure, he's not the kind of linebacker that Patrick Willis is or Ray Lewis was, but Blackburn's football IQ and knack for finding the football is what makes him a special talent on the defensive side.
There is the possibility that the team could look to Herzlich or potentially draft a linebacker to fill the middle linebacker spot in 2013, but Herzlich has yet to show that he's capable of being a starter and, right now, might be best suited as a reserve.
And even if the team does draft a linebacker, whoever that is might not be ready to immediately start and could use a veteran presence like Blackburn to lean on for guidance and mentoring.
Blackburn's agent Richard Katz talked to Schwartz and told him the Giants are definitely pursuing a new deal with his client, but they are looking at all other options as well:
The Giants have expressed a desire to re-sign Chase...We believe Chase has been very valuable to the club, both on and off the field. Right now we are assessing his dollar value to the Giants and reviewing all possible alternatives including the Giants.
I don't think Blackburn is going to demand a ton of money to remain with the team, and given the fact that the Giants are the only team he's ever called home, I can see him taking a very team-friendly deal to stay on.
Even if the Giants do draft someone, which may end up happening anyway, I still think Blackburn would come out of training camp and the preseason as the starter for Week 1.
One of the things defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said about Blackburn, according to Schwartz, was that he really likes his knowledge, but despite that, Fewell wants to get more athletic and improve their run defense.
If you were to ask me right now how this situation plays out, unless something drastic happens and Blackburn demands more money, I think he'll be back in 2013.
Remember, the Giants tried once to move on without Blackburn and the defense struggled until he returned.
Because of it, he not only helped the defense, he also became a Super Bowl hero when he intercepted a sure touchdown pass from Tom Brady to Rob Gronkowski in Super Bowl XLVI.
Bringing back Blackburn is the right move for the team to make in 2013.
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