Blackburn, Boothe finish 1st full years as starters, ready to hit market

Chase Blackburn reacts after sacking Green Bay Packers

Chase Blackburn reacts after sacking Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the second quarter of a game at MetLife Stadium. (Nov. 25, 2012) (Credit: Getty)

Chase Blackburn has been in this spot before. This is his third time, in fact. The season ends and he makes his way through the building saying goodbye to teammates, coaches, administrators – anyone affiliated with the Giants. He knows he may not ever see them again.

“Last year I said goodbye again, just in case, but I was fortunate enough to get the one-year deal to sign back this year,” Blackburn said. “The year before I said bye and I thought maybe it was a permanent bye there for about 13 weeks and then they called me back at the end of the season.”

Blackburn hits the open market for a third time in three years this offseason. The big difference, though, is that he is coming off a season in which he was a starting middle linebacker and not a special teams part or replacement piece. Blackburn was one of the most important pieces in the Giants’ defense – albeit a defense that finished the season ranked 31st in yardage allowed – and it may take more than just another one-year deal to bring him back.

If that’s even what the Giants want.

It’s what Blackburn wants.

“I would definitely love (more than a one-year deal),” Blackburn said on Monday. “I’d love a little bit of stability. I hope I played well enough to deserve that. I feel like I have. It would be great.”

He’s not the only player who was signed as a backup, wound up a starter, and is now in a position to cash in. Kevin Boothe became the Giants’ starting guard for the last season and a half. He’s never injured, always plays. He may not be a spectacular talent, but he’s done a nice job for the Giants.

The last time Boothe was a free agent was two years ago, during the NFL lockout. He signed with the Giants almost immediately after the work stoppage ended. As a backup player he was glad just to have someone offering him anything. Now, though, he’s a bona fide starter.

“Sure, sure,” Boothe said when asked if he’s curious to test the market. “You’re a free agent. We’ll see how it all goes. But I don’t know. I’ve never really been in this situation before. It’s new to me and I’ll see how it goes day by day as we get around March.”

Both Blackburn and Boothe would have come cheaper as backups. Instead they both developed into important players late in their careers. 2013 will be Blackburn’s ninth NFL season. Boothe will be heading into his seventh. Both have families and are likely looking for that stability Blackburn mentioned.

“I have two young boys now so it would be nice not to go one year, move and pack everything up again and go,” Blackburn said. “It’s part of the business, but it would be nice not to have to do that.”

The two of them have significant enough roles on the Giants that they may wind up getting that kind of deal.

“It’s better to have played than not to have played going into free agency,” Boothe said, coming off his first full season as a Giants starter. “Obviously the Giants have to go about their process and hopefully they want me. I guess that would be the first thing, that somebody wants me.”

Tags: Chase Blackburn , Kevin Boothe , Giants , free agency

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