By Curt Macysyn
If the New York Giants (3-4) rebound from a poor start to their season and eventually make the NFL playoffs, they will have to do so without the services of Jon Beason. The veteran linebacker was placed on the injured reserve list, thus ending his season after only four games played.
The team made the announcement on Monday, as they came off their bye to prepare for the Indianapolis Colts on Monday night at MetLife Stadium. Beason will now undergo surgery to repair a toe injury originally suffered in offseason team activities (OTAs).
“Beason’s toe has been an issue since June 12, when he suffered a ligament tear and a small fracture to the sesamoid in his right foot during an OTA workout. After he was examined by foot and ankle specialist Dr. Robert Anderson in Charlotte, N.C., Beason said he would recover and return to the field without surgery. He missed training camp and the entire preseason, but started the regular-season-opener in Detroit on Sept. 8,” according to Michael Eisen of Giants.com.
Even though Beason played in the season opener against Detroit, it was obvious that he was slowed by the injury. Then Beason could not finish in the loss against the Arizona Cardinals and missed the next three games, all victories, in an effort to rest the injury. After playing a full role in the loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Oct. 12, Beason only played 17 snaps against the Dallas Cowboys before being pulled in the second quarter, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required).
Despite his resume, it is debatable how impactful Beason’s injury will be for the defensive unit, as PFF had the veteran linebacker ranked 37th among inside linebackers in the league with a – (4.2) grade. His replacement since training camp has been Jameel McClain, who has a better rating – (2.1) than Beason in 386 snaps and has had positive grades in the past two games.
Beason ends the season with only 11 total tackles in 162 snaps over the four games he played, which is certainly not the return on investment that New York Giants’ general manager Jerry Reese was looking for when he signed the eight-year veteran to a contract in the off season. Ironically, Beason played in all 16 games in his first four seasons with the Carolina Panthers, but he has not been able to replicate that feat over the past four seasons, twice playing in only four games and once playing in only a single game (2011).
The lack of longevity and production should surely raise questions about Beason’s future with Big Blue. According to OverTheCap.com, “Beason signed a three year $17 million contract with the New York Giants on March 14, 2014. Beason received a $4.4 million signing bonus and has his entire 2014 base salary guaranteed and $900,000 of his 2015 base salary fully guaranteed. Beason can earn up to $800,000 in gameday active roster bonuses in 2014 and $1.2 million in gameday active roster bonuses in 2015 and 2016.”
In reviewing the OTC salary cap calculator, it appears that the team would save $5 million in 2015 cap room if they designated him a post-June 1 cut, something the team did with offenseive lineman David Baas this past spring.
Some have speculated that Beason should have tried to have surgery when the injury occurred in the spring, rather than wait, something that Tom Coughlin would have none of. “Why would you even want to go there? We got the guy on the field, he tried it, it actually became a little bit different kind of an injury but the same area. He gave it everything he had and he had the doctor’s approval. Unfortunately, it didn’t work,” the Giants’ head coach answered in reponse to a question at his media availability on Monday.
For more Giants news and updates, visit Giants Central.
Curt Macysyn has been covering the New York Football Giants for the past two seasons for Examiner.com. Born and raised in northern New Jersey, Curt has followed and covered the New York Metropolitan sports scene for 35 years. He attended Seton Hall Prep School in South Orange, NJ and is a graduate of Rutgers University, New Brunswick. His work can be found on Examiner.com.