Something very weird is going on with the New York Giants. All they seem to be able to think about right now is linebackers.
After years of chronically ignoring the position to their detriment, the Giants seem determined to put together a representative group of linebackers for 2014. They're at work trying to re-sign middle linebacker Jon Beason before free agency opens Tuesday afternoon. And on Thursday they will host free-agent linebacker Jameel McClain, who was cut by the Baltimore Ravens last week.
Because McClain was released with time left on his contract, he is eligible to sign with teams prior to the opening of the new league year -- i.e., he doesn't have to wait until 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday. McClain visited with the Buffalo Bills on Wednesday and told reporters in Buffalo that he was visiting the Giants on Thursday:
“This is the first visit and then I go to the Giants,” said McClain. “I’ve got more scheduled, but I tell my agent to tell me the day before. I don’t want to be wrapping my mind around too many ideas. I’m more like a get the information and go guy.”
McClain turns 29 in July. The Ravens released him because doing so saves them $3.2 million against the salary cap this year and because they believed they have in-house replacements ready. He's an inside linebacker who's moved around in the Ravens' 3-4 defensive front, so he could potentially play the middle for the Giants if they don't bring back Beason or he could play one of the outside spots. He played only 10 games in 2013 as he was returning from a spinal cord injury, but he's fully healthy at this point and actively looking for work. He said he has other visits scheduled as well.
The Giants also tendered restricted free-agent linebacker Spencer Paysinger this week, ensuring that they would be able to hold onto him for another year.