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  1. #1
    Nick's Avatar
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    Giants not expected to "put up a big fight" to keep NT Cofield

    Reese facing Giant decisions
    Posted: 12:06 AM, July 3, 2011
    Paul Schwartz

    Whenever the NFL gets its act together there will be no lurching back to business. It will be a whirlwind swim-or-be-eaten dive into the free agency waters and Giants general manager Jerry Reese has promised "We'll be ready to pounce."

    The Giants will have to get their own house in order with five key players -- Steve Smith, Mathias Kiwanuka, Ahmad Bradshaw, Kevin Boss and Barry Cofield -- before they venture outside.

    Two of them, Kiwanuka and Smith, would be in high demand elsewhere if not for serious injuries that undermine their value. Kiwanuka is one of the most versatile defensive linemen in the NFL. He was the Giants best defender after three games last season, recording a team-high four sacks. He missed the last 13 games with a herniated disk in his neck. Kiwanuka opted not to have surgery, was cleared back in February to return to football activity and should be all-systems-go for training camp.

    This particular injury, though, gone for now, is never forgotten and Kiwanuka will need a season to prove his neck is fine and can withstand the violent impacts required in his job. That is why Reese has ruminated, "Do we offer him a one-year deal so that he can re-establish his value or do we go in a different direction?" Kiwanuka, 28, is a special athlete -- remember, he also can play linebacker if needed -- and Reese figures to retain the former first-round pick with a low-risk, short-term deal that makes sense.

    Smith was on track for a huge payday, but that will have to wait. He shattered the franchise record with his 107-catch 2009 season and through eight games last season was only slightly behind that pace, with 47 receptions for 517 yards. A torn pectoral muscle cost him four games and upon his return he sustained cartilage damage in his knee, necessitating micro-fracture surgery. It takes more than a full year to recover from such a procedure and sometimes longer.

    It is likely Smith will be limited whenever camp starts and it's unlikely any other team will ignore his knee and offer huge money, virtually assuring his return to the Giants.

    Bradshaw, coming off his first year as a starting running back, picked a good time for a career-best 1,235 rushing yards, and he's wanted and needed back -- as his Brandon Jacobs. There's room and money for both, even with a $4.65 million salary for Jacobs that might have to be downsized now that he's a backup.

    Another starter set to be free, Kevin Boss, is a solid, dedicated tight end who fits neatly in the locker room, can block on the line and get off it to roam downfield for receptions. He doesn't want to leave and shouldn't be difficult to retain with a representative multi-year offer, with the only caveat his concussion history.

    Of all the prospective free agents, defensive tackle Barry Cofield is the longest-tenured and most durable as a full-time starter for his entire five-year career. The Giants kept him in the lineup but their refusal to extend his contract while drafting and signing potential replacements strongly indicates they won't put up a big fight to keep him.

    Cofield made a total of about $2.5 million on his original four-year rookie deal and played last season for the $1.7 million tender offered by the Giants. He's only 27 and finally wants to cash in with "a life-changing amount of money" in what could be his last contract.

    It can be argued that Cofield -- who wants to stay -- the past two years was more effective than Chris Canty, who in 2009 signed a six-year, $42 million contract ($17.25 million guaranteed). Others who Cofield could compare favorably with are Ryan Pickett (four years, $28 million from the Packers), Tony Brown (three-years, $17 million from the Titans) and even Kris Jenkins (five-years, $30 million from the Jets).

    "If you're doing the same job, sometimes even better, you feel like you should have the same salary if not a higher salary," Cofield said. "That goes the same whether you work in the NFL or in an office building."

    That rational desire probably will send Cofield to a team that values his services -- and has fewer options at defensive tackle -- more than the Giants. It is one of the many decisions Reese and the Giants will have to make, without hesitation, once they're open for business.

  2. #2
    AvengerRam's Avatar
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    Re: Giants not expected to "put up a big fight" to keep NT Cofield

    He'd be a perfect fit for us.

  3. #3
    ZiaRam is offline Registered User
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    Re: Giants not expected to "put up a big fight" to keep NT Cofield

    Heck ya, Let's pick him up!! Im happy to hear this, great article Nick.
    2011 Starting lineup.
    Hall, Cofield, Robbins, Long with the likes of Quin, Gibson and Selvie to get in there and give those guys a blow. Think we'd have a hell of a front 4 that would keep those blockers off our LB's as well.

  4. #4
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    Re: Giants not expected to "put up a big fight" to keep NT Cofield

    I'll admit I was pretty excited to see the Giants' top picks over the last two years, because I knew they couldn't possibly keep all that talent along the d-line. It will be exciting to see if we can lure some of that talent over to St. Louis. Robbins' success can only help our cause.

  5. #5
    TekeRam's Avatar
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    Re: Giants not expected to "put up a big fight" to keep NT Cofield

    Agreed with everything, and while we do have a fair amount tied up in the d-line(2008, 2011 1st round picks), Spags won a super bowl with a top notch line and our back end will look a whole lot better if we have a front four who can take over a game. Long and Quinn hopefully can be top notch bookends, but if we can have a Robbins/Cofield tandem for a couple years to plug up the middle, RB's and QB's will have no where to go. I just hope we don't overpay him too much.
    I believe!

  6. #6
    mde8352gorams's Avatar
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    Re: Giants not expected to "put up a big fight" to keep NT Cofield

    Based on what I learned this morning that the Giants are @ $10 million over the cap they are not likely to resign Barry Cofield, which will be great for us. I agree with TekeRam that I hope we don't overpay him leaving us enough to sign other FA's. I'm not even sure how much we have or even if we are over the cap. I'm excited that things are finally going to get going next week (let's hope).

    Go Rams!

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