Why the New York Giants had to risk trading for Linebacker Jon Beason

The New York Giants have taken a necessary risk by trading for linebacker Jon Beason.

If the injury prone former Carolina Panthers starter can stay healthy, he will improve Big Blue's woeful linebacker unit and help the team rebound from its 0-4 start.

The deal is pending a physical, which Beason will take today, according to NFL.com's Ian Rapoport. But that physical could create an issue, given Beason's shaky fitness record. According to NFL.com's Chris Wesseling, Beason has managed only seven starts since 2011.

That year Beason tore his Achilles tendon in the season's first game. It was a cruel blow for a player who was approaching a level of dominance as an intelligent and ultra-athletic linebacker.

Wesseling notes that Beason merited three consecutive Pro Bowl nods for his stellar performances from 2007-10. But knee surgery in 2012 has diminished much of the lateral quickness and explosive burst that had made him such an effective playmaker.

Yet despite his catalogue of injury woes, the Giants are right to gamble on Beason. It is a necessary risk they must take to try and solve their major issues at the linebacker position.

The unit is littered with overwhelmed youngsters like Spencer Paysinger and Jacquian Williams, along with underperforming or injured veterans like Keith Rivers and Dan Connor.

So far the starters have notched only a single sack and failed to snare an interception. Having such a major weakness at the second level of their defense has left the Giants ranked last in points and 22nd in yards allowed.

Beason is still only 28 and possesses the raw skills and natural instincts to again become an effective linebacker. He is also versatile enough to play in the middle or on the outside, and the Giants need help at both positions.

Beason played his best football in the middle for then-Panthers head coach and one-time Giants defensive coordinator, John Fox. That is where he likely makes the most sense for the G-men, as he attempts to rebound from being benched during his final weeks in Carolina.

Big Blue won't even be surrendering much to acquire Beason. Jay Glazer of Fox Sports, has indicated that the Giants will only be required to send a late-round pick to the Panthers.

That is a small price to pay for a necessary gamble that could fix the weakest position on New York's defense.

image: © Mike Morbeck