With newly drafted DT Marvin Austin on the roster, DT Barry Cofield will no longer wear blue.
A recent article from Profootball Weekly intimates Cofield’s anticipated departure from New York. Although Profootball Weekly believes Cofield is an underrated performer, I have a difference of opinion. Last season, Cofield was the best defensive tackle on this team. He played in all 16 games and was a consistent performer. Amassing 40 tackles, Cofield lead all Giants defensive tackles in this category. In addition to tackles, Cofield was credited with 14 assisted tackles, four 4 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 4 pass defended, and one fumble recovery. With these impressive statistics, why are the Giants giving up on Cofield?
1. Money. Money. Money.
In 2009, Giants GM Jerry Reese signed two free agent defensive tackles to lucrative contracts. Up until now, both Chris Canty and Rocky Bernard have been huge disappointments. Canty signed a six year deal worth 42 million with 17.25 million which was guaranteed. And Bernard inked a four year deal worth 16 million. Since the Giants have so much money tied up between Canty and Bernard, Cofield is a victim of circumstance. Therefore, the Giants are not going to sign Cofield to a long term deal.
2. Steady but not All-Pro
The other factor to consider regarding Cofield is his ability to elevate his game. Indeed, Cofield played very well last year. But can he step up his game to another level? The Giants do not think so. Hence, Reese made a decision to draft Marvin Austin. Here are Reese’s thoughts about Austin: He is explosive; he is an explosive three-technique, a gap charger. This guy can get off the ball with tremendous speed. He has got a nasty motor – mean demeanor about him. He is going to bring that nasty attitude. Somebody described him as Keith Hamilton – not the body type but that nasty demeanor that Keith Hamilton used to play with when we had him here. So I like to have some big nasty guys in your front. I kind of like that.
Without question, Austin has talent. But his downside is his character issues. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported three teams removed Austin off their draft board. Reese is rolling the dice here.
But if Reese’s judgment is spot on, despite character concerns, Austin has the potential to be an All-Pro. As Giants fans, let us hope Austin can make this Giants defense better in 2011.
Once this lockout is finally settled, Cofield will sign elsewhere. It would not suprise me if Cofield signs with the Rams. Last year, the Giants believed DT Fred Robbins was done. On the contrary, this was not true. Here is Robbins in his own words on playing for Steve Spagnuolo: “And that makes you want to go out and play for a guy,” Robbins said. “A guy that’s not just concerned with what you do on the field, but off the field. A guy who cares for your life and well-being. He’s well respected throughout the league. We work hard, but he makes it fun doing it.”