The New York Giants signed former Arizona Cardinal and Tampa Bay Cardinals linebacker, Deone Bucannon, on Tuesday afternoon, filling a position of need with a familiar player.
Defensive coordinator James Bettcher worked with Bucannon earlier in his career in Arizona, where he enjoyed some of his best seasons. The former first-round pick will pick up the role Tae Davis was supposed to fill this season before being benched and stashed away for a rainy day.
Bettcher utilizes a position called the “money backer,” which is essentially a blend of a tradition linebacker and outside linebacker. It requires a robust and fast player who can rush the passer but also drop back into coverage — something Bucannon has done in the past.
The fifth-year player has played strong safety in the past, giving him knowledge of multiple positions, which is beneficial for Big Blue, who will hope to plug him in right away alongside Alec Ogletree and David Mayo in the middle of the field. His influence can be valuable, but he’s three seasons from a productive campaign. While the Buccaneers cut him, the reasoning will give you more justification for his quality.
Bucannon was cut to enable a third-round compensatory pick selection for Tampa Bay, which was more valuable than the linebacker. Take the tidbit of information as you will, but he can fill a needed role for the Giants and has plenty of experience with Bettcher on defense.
The New York Giants are developing the linebacker position but are ways away:
With Ryan Connelly quickly establishing himself as the top linebacker on the team as a rookie, it puts Ogletree on the trade-block this season and could potentially send him on his way next offseason. Bucannon can help in the middle of the field and create confusion for defenses, and if he can regain his form from the past, there could be an argument to be made for a possible contract extension.
Of course, we need to see what the linebacker has to offer in live-action before we make any judgment calls.