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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Panthers Sign Chase Blackburn

If you had middle linebacker in the pool for what Carolina would pick up next, you win.

Carolina picked up LB Chase Blackburn, a former Giant from his 2005 undrafted free agency to last year.  The former Akron star started 15 games for NY last year at MLB, completing a career in NY that saw him start a total of 36 games.

He had 336 tackles and 4.5 sacks in that time, and notched a crucial interception in Super Bowl XLVI, picking off Tom Brady in the 4th quarter.  Last year, starting those 15 games, he had 98 tackles, 3 sacks, 6 defensed passes, and 4 forced fumbles.  The 6'3, 245 lb Blackburn was a 2010 special teams captain for the Giants, as well.   Chances are, he'll be top depth at LB, and certainly insurance on Jon Beason (new to SLB) and Luke Kuechly as well.

Still, it's an odd pairing, to put a two year deal into an aging player whose first full season starting was last year.  It could cost another Panther LB a job - possibly Kenny Onatolu, a special teamer who more or less fits the same role as newly re-signed backup WLB/special teamer Jordan Senn.

It could, of course, also mean a June -designated cut for Beason himself, which would save $5.5 million this year (and push $8 million of cap hit into 2014).  Either way, hopefully they're going to save those precious few draft picks for something other than more middle linebackers.
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