In an effort to shore up the linebacker core, the New York Giants have re-signed Jasper Brinkley. The South Carolina product was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the 5th round of the 2009 draft and played for the Vikes, as well as Arizona Cardinals for a one-year stint before joining the Giants in 2015.
After being released by the Dallas Cowboys two days before the 2015 season began, Brinkley joined the Giants as a back-up and held a spot on special teams. However, in the last nine games for Big Blue, Brinkley maintained the starting middle linebacker spot and ended up being third on the team in combined tackles with 67.
“Once you’re used to being in the starting lineup, being in the situation I was in was very different,” Brinkley said. “I was tested last year, and being patient paid off for me in the end.”
Brinkley, along with other members of the organization, is quite excited about the flashy off-season the Giants had.
“I can see we made great strides this offseason,” Brinkley said. “We brought some top-tier quality players in here and on the defensive side of the ball. That’s going to take us a long way. I’m excited to get back out on the green grass with those guys.”
Along with Brinkley, The Giants also added linebacker Keenan Robinson to create some competition at the position.
“There’s always competition,” Brinkley said. “Nothing has ever been given to me. I have to earn it. Keenan is going to give me great competition.”
With so many new faces along the defensive side of the ball, it is good the Giants managed to hold on to some familiar faces, especially Brinkley, who provided a good performance in the latter half of the season.
As for the fate of the linebacker core, Giant fans have been struggling to remember who even holds the starting spots. Jon Beason played quite well when he was not injured, which unfortunately was not as often as one would have hoped. Now that he has retired, Brinkley and Robinson are the best the Giants have that can earn the starting middle linebacker spot. As for the outside linebackers @JT Thomas and Jonathan Casillas will duke it out for the weak side linebacker position, while Devon Kennard and Mark Herzlich will compete for the strong side spot. Somewhere in all of this Uani Unga will also grab some playing time during the course of the season.
Re-signing Brinkley was a good decision for the Giants. With young players and new faces, creating competition at a position with no clear favorite can only propel athletes to fight harder.