When New York Giants outside linebacker, Victor Butler, was hit with a four game PED (performance enhancing drugs) suspension by the league office, many casual fans were unaware the 27-year old actually held a place on the Giants’ roster.
Butler was signed to a reserve/future contract by the team back in January, following a turbulent 2014 season for the Oregon State product. Butler was cut after just 14 just days by the Arizona Cardinals and then signed, released, re-signed, and released again by the Indianapolis Colts all over a span of eight days.
A fourth round pick by the Dallas Cowboys in 2009, Butler appeared to be on the path to becoming a solid rotational player during his tenure with the team. Backing up DeMarcus Ware, he recorded 89 tackles, 11 sacks, five forced fumbles, and four pass deflections during his four-year stint in Dallas.
His play landed him a two-year deal with the New Orleans Saints following the 2012 season, but a torn ACL after a collision with running back Mark Ingram in practice saw him lose his entire 2013, and eventually lead to his being cut by the Saints.
The Giants addressed their glaring need at linebacker this offseason by signing free agents Jonathan Casillas and J.T. Thomas while also re-signing Mark Herzlich. Butler was always a long shot to make New York’s final 53-man roster, however, his pass rushing ability paired with the penchant he has shown for knocking the ball loose had the Giants believing he could be an effective special teams player and solid backup.
Yet, Butler’s looming four-game suspension will likely not be end of his chance to show the Giants’ coaching staff what he could do for the team. The odds are we will see Butler receive a fair share of snaps in the preseason and work extensively with the special teams unit in training camp. Once the regular season rolls around he will be moved over to the suspended list, which does not count against a team’s 54-man roster limit.
There he will bid his time until after the fourth regular season game, where Giants management will reassess his talent against what they already have and either cut him or another player whose roster spot he would take. But, as is the case for any NFL journeyman, nothing is guaranteed for Butler.
If the Giants find themselves up against the 90 man training camp limit, with an undrafted free agent available they wish to sign, Butler will have made himself one of the most expendable players to part ways with due to his suspension.