The New York Giants are in need of linebackers and a backup plan (insurance) incase Jon Beason, one doesn’t restructure his contract and is cut or two gets injured during OTA’s or the preseason “again”. The Giants would be wise to get a player in the draft but I think Giants fans would feel more comfortable with a veteran backing up Beason instead of a rookie.
My suggestion would be New Orleans Saints middle linebacker Curtis Lofton. The Saints are in “cap hell” right now, currently $21 million over the cap and looking to shop some of their high-profile players to get some cap relief. Lofton’s current cap hit will be $9.25 million. If the Saints can find a team to trade with that team would have to absorb that hit, unless they restructure his contract.
If not, the Saints will have to cut Lofton leaving $5 million in dead money and only saving the team $4.25 million in cap space.
I really don’t think any team will pay that much for Lofton so the thinking is he will be cut and go into free agency on Tuesday.
Now here is where the Giants come in.
Lofton has averaged over 100 tackles a season since being drafted in the second round by the Atlanta Falcons in 2008, capping the 2014 season with 144 tackles. He has not missed a game since entering the NFL playing and starting in all 16 games every season except for his rookie year where he started in 15 games.
Just like Beason, Lofton is a leader on the field and off and can play all three linebacker positions (weak side, strong side and the middle). He’s a downfield thumper who plays with instincts to make plays behind the line of scrimmage, but can also play sideline to sideline even though his coverage skills have diminished some over the years.
Lofton is entering his ninth season and will only be 29 years old once the season starts. The Giants will get very good value in a linebacker like Lofton if they invest in him. He could be an excellent replacement for Beason if he leaves via free agency, he could come in and play weak side linebacker (if Beason is still on the team) a position that will be up for grabs this season with the pending departure of Jacquain Williams and he would be perfect to teach the younger players on the team.
Now everything comes down to money and how much the Giants are willing to pay a linebacker like Lofton and how much he thinks he’s worth, but if they offer him something reasonable and structure the contract right they could fit him under the salary cap easily. Who knows what the numbers will be, but if he sees value in coming to play for the Giants and they see value in signing him to a contract it’s a win for everyone even the fans.
Keep an eye out for these free agent linebackers the Giants could also pursue on Tuesday: Brandon Spikes (Buffalo Bills), Sean Weatherspoon (Atlanta Falcons), Dan Skuta (San Francisco 49ers), Mason Foster (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Akeem Ayers (New England Patriots), Brooks Reed (Houston Texans).