Jon Beason Could be Early Cap Casualty for Giants

When the New York Giants acquired Jon Beason from the Carolina Panthers it was a move the team had to make and it paid off with an improved run defense. Last offseason, the Giants signed Beason to a three-year deal worth up to $19 million with $7 million of that guaranteed. The average annual hit is about $6 million for the Giants and that coupled with his injury history could mean the Giants will have to move on from Beason.

When Beason was on the field for the Giants he performed very well. He had 104 combined tackles in 16 games across two seasons with the Giants. The problem is only four of those games came this past season. In fact, Beason hasn’t played a full season since 2010, though he did play in 15 games in 2013 between the Panthers and Giants. That was also the only season since 2010 that appeared in more than four games, including this season.

The issue was never Beason’s play on the field but his ability to stay on it. The Giants gambled that Beason could stay healthy for the majority of his contract. That has backfired on them. Beason might still be a serviceable player but certainly not one who is worth an average hit of $6 million in the salary cap era.

The Giants have a lot of holes to fill and two linebackers in Spencer Paysinger and Jacquian Williams, and to a lesser extent Mark Herzlich, who have played key roles for the Giants in recent years and figure to be much cheaper than Beason. Add in the emergence of rookie Devon Kennard and Beason becomes an expensive piece to gamble on.

There is a chance that Beason, who enjoys playing for the Giants, could restructure his contract, something that would allow him to reestablish his value while not hand-cuffing the Giants’ cap situation, but that is only a slim possibility at this point. The Giants would probably need to increase the guaranteed money while decreasing the cap hit, something Beason might agree to.

Linebacker is one area that GM Jerry Reese has pretty much ignored in free agency and has had only moderate success in the draft. It isn’t likely that Reese has changed his opinion too much on the position and could look to allow Kennard an opportunity to take that next step forward. The one question is where does defensive coordinator Steve Spagnoulo see Kennard having the biggest impact, at middle linebacker, outside linebacker or as a super utility guy who plays all over the front seven?

With key free agents to re-sign, especially Jason Pierre-Paul who enjoyed a resurgent season last year, the Giants must decide if Beason is part of their future. If Beason does stay, will he stay healthy enough to have an impact next season? We could find out very soon what the Giants’ decision on Beason is and it looks like he might be a casualty at this moment.

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