The New York Giants will have to play four games next season without linebacker Victor Butler due to a suspension.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network and NFL.com noted that the linebacker was suspended for the first four games of the 2015 campaign “for violating the NFL policy on performance enhancing substance.”
Butler spent last season with the Arizona Cardinals and Indianapolis Colts but only appeared in two total games (both for the Colts). He suffered an ACL tear before the 2013 season and has since struggled to get back on the field or find a rotation spot somewhere.
Before the injury, he played with the Dallas Cowboys for four seasons and racked up 11 sacks as an impact defender. The hope in New York is that he can return to form in 2015.
However, Josh Alper of ProFootballTalk pointed out that Butler was already facing an uphill battle for playing time or even a roster spot this season before the suspension, and this will make it even more difficult on him:
Under the best of circumstances, linebacker Victor Butler was going to have to perform well in offseason and training camp work to land a spot on the Giants’ 53-man roster come September.
The circumstances won’t be ideal for Butler, however, after he was suspended by the NFL.
The Giants are fairly deep on defense after bringing in Jonathan Casillas and J.T. Thomas as free agents to go along with a group that already included Jon Beason, Devon Kennard, Mark Herzlich and Jameel McClain.
It's difficult to envision a scenario where Butler returns from the suspension in Week 5 and earns immediate and significant playing time.