There weren't many bright spots for the New York Giants during the 2013 season, but Jon Beason was certainly one of them after coming over from the Carolina Panthers.
And with free agency already underway, the Giants have locked up the premiere linebacker for the future, according to Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL.com:
The radio station ESPN 104.5 The Team also confirmed the news shortly after:
ESPN's Adam Schefter reported details of the deal Thursday:
One of the best players in the NFL when he was drafted by the Panthers, Beason suffered through multiple injuries that limited him to playing in just five games throughout the 2011 and 2012 seasons with the team.
Beason was traded to the Giants midway through the 2013 season and made an immediate impact during his 10 starts with the franchise. The 29-year-old registered 65 tackles, an interception and a pass defended across the middle for New York.
Beason's resurgence with the team made him a commodity for teams looking to make a splash on the free agent market, something he planned to tackle by himself without an agent, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN:
Tom Rock of Newsday had a little fun with that after hearing of the signing by the Giants:
Before the entire process got underway, Beason spoke his mind about his first time in free agency. Entering his eighth year in the league, the former Miami linebacker said he's all about finding the right fit with a team, per Dan Salomone of Giants.com:
I think it’s all about the situation. Being a free agent, it’s the first time where you get to choose where you want to play or who you want to play with and all of that stuff. But when you come to a place like the New York Giants, there are high standards, there are great players, and this team has done it on a consistent level.
So for me, it’s all about winning at this point in my career.
Apparently Beason believes the Giants can start winning soon after a poor 2013 season. That might be a good sign for New York when looking at other free agents. If they can convince Beason they are ready to return to winning, the Giants might be able to do so with other players at positions of need.
While teams like the Dallas Cowboys in the division and the Chicago Bears in the conference allowed great defensive players to walk, the Giants are clearly more interested in locking up players that had success with the team.
The signing of Beason not only provides stability in the front seven for a team that needs to improve in 2014, but it also gives it a manageable contract while some players on the free agency market are getting an exorbitant amount of money during the signing period.
Beason brings both veteran leadership and a hard-nose ability to the linebacking corps that could help the Giants turn things around in 2014. And if the three-time pro bowler can stay on the field for all 16 games, he could be a candidate for Comeback Player of the Year in New York.