In 2012, Blackburn's only season as a full-time starter for the Giants, he recorded career-highs in tackles (98), pass defenses (six), sacks (three) and forced fumbles (four). Blackburn, who led the Giants in total tackles last season, had 106 tackles combined in his three prior seasons. Richard Katz, Blackburn's agent, told the Associated Press that the ninth-year linebacker is “thrilled” to join the Panthers.
"Thanks for eight great years Giants, but it's time for the next chapter (with the) Panthers,” Blackburn wrote on his Twitter account.
Blackburn joins a talented corps of linebackers, led by Luke Kuechly, the 2012 AP Defensive Rookie of the Year and outside linebacker Thomas Davis, a first-round pick in 2005. Middle linebacker Jon Beason made three consecutive Pro Bowls from 2008-2010, but has been limited to five games over the last two seasons with a rash of injuries. In 2011, Beason was placed on IR in mid-September after suffering an injured left Achilles tendon. Last season, the Panthers put Beason on IR in late-October with left shoulder and right knee injuries.
Blackburn will be reunited in Charlotte with Panthers first-year general manager Dave Gettleman, who spent the last two decades in the Giants' Pro Personnel department. Blackburn's greatest strength may be his recognition of opposing offenses in pre-snap situations. Last season, Blackburn ranked eighth among starting inside linebackers in run defense efficiency according to Pro Football Focus.
Keep your eye on everything NFL by following Matt Rybaltowski on Twitter:@mattrybaltowski.