The Giants and Jon Beason are negotiating a pay cut, but the linebacker said he is confident he will remain with the Giants for the 2015 season.
"I want to be a Giant," he said on SiriusXM NFL Radio on Wednesday morning. "They took a chance on me when other people may have thought that I was done. You want to go out and hold up your end of the bargain. When healthy I still feel I'm the best in the business and no one can keep up with me."
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The Giants signed Beason to a three-year, $17-million deal last offseason, but he injured his foot in the spring and played in just four games in 2014. His base salary for 2015 under that contract is $3.6 million with $1 million of that guaranteed. It seems as if Beason is willing to forgo some of that salary if it is turned into incentives.
"We've been back and forth trying to come to terms," said Beason, who acts as his own agent. "They're doing the best they can to try to be fair under the situation and as a so-called agent I'm doing the best I can to make sure I get the opportunity to earn some of that money back. What you hate is that you get penalized for what happened in 2014 when it's no longer in anyone's control. But if you do go out and you play well and you make the Pro Bowl, the guys win the Super Bowl, you make the playoffs, to take less money than what you were scheduled to earn is tough because you no longer have that opportunity to hit that benchmark. That's the nature of the game."
If the Giants and Beason cannot agree, they could release him. They would still owe about half of his $6.7 million cap number, but it would save them $2.8 million.
"I've had the benefit of doing my own contract and you see how the business works," Beason said. "Unfortunately when you are making more than the league minimum you are susceptible to taking a pay cut due to injury. A lot of that has to do with the leverage that the teams have. What I've learned is that you can't take it personally when the team is going to come after you to get money back based on an injury because the other 31 teams seem like they're on the same page. 'Hey, we'll low-ball you worse if you decide not to take the pay cut.' ... It's an unfortunate part of the business, but at the same time staying in the game and continuing to play is ultimately what you want. And they know that."
Beason is still recovering from foot surgery and said he is working to get back into "football shape." He said he has not yet met with new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, but has a meeting scheduled.
Now 30 years old and having been riddled with injuries for most of the second half of his nine-year career, Beason could find himself a former Giant if he does not take the pay cut. Given his recent resume (and medical chart), there might not be a lot of teams interested in signing him if he is jettisoned.
"As you get older in the league you realize unfortunately it's not so much about family or bleeding Carolina blue and black or [Giants] blue and red," he said. "They want you to have that perception of what this game is. It's truly a business and if you can't produce at a high level often, whether it's through injury when you can't or you are just not playing well, there is going to be some change. When you see that so often, guys continue to move on and you've stayed because you've been a good player, you start to understand that. When you get late in your career you do the best you can to continue to do all the things that help teams win in terms of playing at a high level, but also bringing guys along and leading and trying to get that ring."
He said he still has a lot to offer in terms of his play and his leadership, but few teams are going to gamble on his injury history.
"There are things I wanted to get accomplished that got cut short in terms of injury and sometimes that affects your legacy," Beason said. "But I still hang my hat on the fact that I know if I'm healthy I think I'm one of the best in the league ... I'm grateful for the time I had and the time I continue to have."