With the back-to-back draft picks of a defensive tackle in the second round of the 2010 and 2011 NFL Draft by the New York Giants, has Barry Cofield truly played his last game as a member of the team?
I am here to tell you yes.
As much as Cofield has brought to this team as a dominant run stuffer, I feel like the odds are against him coming back.
First of all, he has said during this offseason that he will not play another year with the Giants under a one-year contract, and that makes sense. Guys who produce should be rewarded with long-term contracts.
However, the Giants have several other high-profile free agents that may just be higher priorities. Mathias Kiwanuka, Ahmad Bradshaw and Kevin Boss are all free agents as well, and the Giants didn't draft a defensive end or tight end and waited until round seven to grab a running back.
I imagine they fully intend to bring back all three; so there may not be enough money to throw around. Plus, when guys start to think about themselves and it feels like they want to leave for more money, the Giants usually oblige by either trading or letting them go. I could see the Giants doing the same here.
Secondly, the Giants drafted Linval Joseph in round two last season, who by all accounts looks like someone who can take over the run-stuffing duties. Joseph may just be better than Cofield when it's all said an done.
Coming out of East Carolina, everyone said Joseph had the body of a nose tackle with the abilities of a three technique. What that basically means is he can stuff the run with the best of them and give you a consistent pass rush up the middle.
Cofield was always good as a pass rusher, but he doesn't command the double team like Joseph would, who has a good 20 lbs on Cofield and is a former Florida weightlifting champion.
Third, the Giants seem to be really high on Marvin Austin and could be eager to let their "top-15" talent contribute right away. They did extensive research on Austin and the risk associated with him didn't seem to bother either Tom Coughlin or GM Jerry Reese.
The Giants have taken troubled guys in the past—Mario Manningham and Ahmad Bradshaw—and they have definitely worked out. With the right situation and a top-class organization, Austin should thrive.
So although he may be a fan favorite for what he has brought to the Giants, it is likely that Cofield will play for another team in 2011.
The Denver Broncos are seemingly a good fit for Cofield. They have a glaring need at defensive tackle, which they did not address in the draft. I could also see him going to the Philadelphia Eagles (for spite more than anything), Atlanta Falcons or Seattle Seahawks.