CHARLOTTE - The Carolina Panthers have traded linebacker Jon Beason to the New York Giants in exchange for a 2014 late-round draft choice.
"The trade benefits both the team and Jon. We'll obviously get something out of it, and it gives Jon an opportunity to get on the field right away," head coach Ron Rivera said. "Jon was as professional as it gets. He truly was. That's the type of person Jon is. He and I had great conversations about stuff, and he was onboard with everything."
A three-time Pro Bowler and five-time team captain, Beason ranks second in team history with 701 tackles, including 10 this year, and owns four of the top six single-season tackle totals in team history. He also has recorded four sacks, three forced fumbles, six fumble recoveries, nine interceptions and 25 passes defensed over six-plus seasons with the Panthers.
"It was very tough (to trade Beason) because of what he has meant to this organization, to this team, to the defense and to the linebackers," Rivera said. "He texted me this morning and said, 'I want to make sure everybody knows I truly appreciate everything, and I love the guys in the locker room.'"
Beason started the first 65 games of his career but has battled injuries since 2011 when he suffered a torn left Achilles tendon in the season opener. He was then limited to just four games in 2012 before being placed on injured reserve with left shoulder and right knee injuries.
Things got off to a slow start again for Beason this year while he continued to recover from his offseason surgeries. Beason did not practice until August 18 and played in the last two preseason games. He started the first two regular season games but was replaced in the lineup by Chase Blackburn in Week 3 versus the Giants and saw action on just one snap.
"We were looking for the guy that we know he's capable of being," Rivera said. "Maybe it's just a matter of him continuing to work through it, and there are still some things that he does very, very well. There are some things that he's still not there with yet, and as he goes through it and gets stronger and stronger, I think he has an opportunity to ascend. This gives him the opportunity to get back on the field and compete."
Originally selected in the first round (25th overall) of the 2007 NFL Draft from Miami (Fla.) by Carolina, Beason became the first rookie to lead the team in tackles with 160. In 2008, he was named a Pro Bowl starter when he produced a team-leading 159 tackles and tied for the team lead with three interceptions. The following year Beason set a then-team record with 169 tackles and appeared in his third consecutive Pro Bowl after the 2010 season.
With Beason gone, the Panthers added a sixth linebacker to the active roster by signing Ben Jacobs from their practice squad. Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis, who rank first and second on the team with 33 and 31 tackles, respectively, along with Blackburn, are the starters. Jordan Senn, who made seven starts in 2011, and A.J. Klein, the team's 2013 fifth-round draft choice, are the two reserves.
"Chase is a very heady football player, very smart," Rivera said. "He does a great job of communicating and working across the board."