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Giants 90-man roster breakdown: LB Jonathan Casillas

Why did the Giants sign the veteran linebacker as a free agent?

Jonathan Casillas (52)
Jonathan Casillas (52)
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

What role will veteran linebacker Jonathan Casillas have with the New York Giants in 2015? Let's look at Casillas as we continuue our player-by-player profiles of the Giants 90-man roster heading into training camp.

2014 Season in Review

Casillas earned a Super Bowl ring as a reserve linebacker with the New England Patriots following a mid-season trade from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Casillas played in 13 regular-season games overall, starting six (three with the Bucs, three with the Patriots). In all, he played just 284 regular-season defensive snaps. Casillas earned a -4.5 grade from Pro Football Focus, most of which was accumulated during one apparently poor game against the Buffalo Bills Week 17 when he graded at -4.2 in 53 snaps. Casillas, an experienced special teams player, had seven tackles on special teams.

2015 Season Outlook

Casillas, 27, got a three-year, $8 million contract from the Giants with $2.975 million guaranteed. The Giants expect the six-year veteran to compete with J.T. Thomas III, also signed in free agency, for the WILL linebacker position. Casillas started only 18 of the 63 NFL games he has been active for.

Casillas was described as "a core special-teamer and backup pass-coverage linebacker" with the Patriots.

The Giants will hope that Casillas can do both of those things for them, and that the Casillas/Thomas combo is an upgrade from Jacquian Williams and Spencer Paysinger.