- Dan Graziano, ESPN Staff Writer
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Considering how little attention the New York Giants have paid to the linebacker position in recent years, it's a little surprising to see them sign O'Brien Schofield for two years and $8 million. Schofield was an outside linebacker in the Seahawks' 4-3 defensive front last year. And while, yes, he did play in the Super Bowl, a lot of the Seahawks' backups played in the Super Bowl because they were running away with the game by halftime.
But a closer look indicates that the Giants may view this as a more creative signing. Schofield has been known to line up from time to time as a pass-rusher, and when he was coming out of college he was thought of as a player who could help in that regard. He finished second in the Big Ten with 12 sacks for Wisconsin in 2009. But he tore an ACL during Senior Bowl practice in 2010 and fell to the fourth round, where the Arizona Cardinals picked him.
So Schofield projects, for the Giants, as a guy who can contribute as an outside linebacker and possibly as a situational pass-rusher, which is something for which they're always looking. Especially if Justin Tuck doesn't re-sign, Jason Pierre-Paul continues to struggle with injuries and Damontre Moore doesn't develop, the Giants will be thin at pass-rusher, and it's possible Schofield could factor into the rotation. That would explain the price tag, which seems high for a weakside linebacker.
I do not think the Schofield signing precludes the Giants from re-signing middle linebacker Jon Beason, who is checking out the market to see what he's worth and remains in contact with the Giants as he talks to other teams.