That man in the picture is Keith Bulluck, new middle linebacker for the New York Giants. The problem? He's not a middle linebacker.
Bulluck doesn't look for contact and his skill set is more akin to that of a Sam linebacker.
New Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell has a Tampa two background, coming from the Lovie Smith coaching branch. In the Tampa two, perhaps the most important player is the Mike (middle) linebacker. The middle linebacker has to be able to shed blocks and make plays on the ball or keep up with the vertical seam.
Bulluck had the speed and athleticism to keep up with most tight ends, but had an ACL tear late last season, which makes me doubt how fast he will be come game time. Lining up against players such as Chris Cooley, Jason Witten, and Brent Celek doesn't help his case.
The thing I dislike most about this signing is the lack of confidence shown by the front office in New York's linebacking core.
Everyone thought Johnathan Goff had the inside track on the middle linebacker starting job. He must not have played as well as they hoped during camp.
For a team that was touted to have "one of the deepest rosters in the league," the Giants sure did sign an awful lot of free agents on defense this year.
This appears to me as a sign of desperation and weakness, which I hate to see from my favorite football team.
Free agency is a big time gamble.
Signing players to big contracts and hoping that they either match their play from last season or exceed it is a serious risk.
Keith Bulluck could make up to $2.5 million this year. Not a mega deal, but not bad for a one year contract given to a player nobody else appeared to want, including his old team.
The Giants previously signed Antrel Rolle to a five-year $37 million dollar contract earlier this year.
I like Rolle as a player and view this signing as a positive. I just wonder if he really is worth THAT much money.
From what I've heard, he isn't the type of guy to roll over now that he has a fat contract, but I hope the money doesn't go to his head and make him overconfident.
The G-Men also signed safety Deon Grant after his release by the Seattle Seahawks, who they didn't think was worth $11 million over the next two years.
This shows they are very worried about the status of star safety Kenny Phillips. Phillips suffered a season ending knee injury in Week Two of 2009 against Dallas.
I'm worried about my team heading into 2010.
2010's free agency class has the chance to be either boom or bust and I'm hoping for the sake of my sanity it's boom.
Your thoughts fellow football fans?