The New York Giants could complete a trade for Carolina linebacker Jon Beason as early as Friday morning, if the oft-injured Beason passes a physical. That's the latest report from FOX Sports' Jay Glazer, who along with USA Today's Mike Garafolo tweeted that the Panthers would receive a late-round pick in exchange for Beason.
The 0-4 Giants could use some help at the linebacker position, but it's hard to say for sure that Beason will provide it. A Pro Bowler from 2008-10, Beason has played just seven games since then and has struggled to get back this season from microfracture knee surgery.
He was so ineffective, in fact, that he was replaced in the Panthers' starting lineup by Chase Blackburn -- whom the Giants opted not to re-sign this past offseason.
Beason restructured his contract this offseason with the Panthers, reducing it to a base salary of $1 million plus an addition $1.75 million available in per-game bonuses. The remainder of his original six-year, $51-plus million contract voids after this season -- the Panthers would take an $8 million hit in dead money for 2014 by trading Beason, per OvertheCap.com.
The Giants do not have much wiggle room under this season's salary cap, so the addition of Beason would push them very near the limit. They're currently a little more than $1.3 million below the cap number.
Spencer Paysinger has started all four games at linebacker for the Giants this season, with Mark Herzlich, Keith Rivers and Jacquian Williams also popping into the lineup. Paysinger's presence would leave an OLB spot and the MLB spot available for Beason, should the Giants deem him an upgrade either place.
For the Panthers, this move would fall under the same category as Jacksonville's trade of Eugene Monroe to the Ravens -- clearly, Beason does not have much of a place in the team's future plans, as evidenced by Blackburn's ascension above him on the depth chart. So getting even a Day 3 draft pick would be preferable to simply letting him walk or cutting him in the coming weeks.
The trade is a little more curious on the Giants' part. It could pay off, if Beason can return anywhere near the form he had several seasons ago, but it's not necessarily a transaction you'd expect from a winless squad.
The Steelers pulled off a similar deal earlier this week, nabbing OT Levi Brown from the Cardinals. There, as here, the move appeared to indicate an unwillingness to throw in the towel on 2013. (The Giants currently sit two games back in the NFC East; the Steelers are now 2.5 out of first after Cleveland's Thursday night win.)