Barry Cofield against one-year tender

Updated: April 1, 2011, 5:47 PM ET
By Ohm Youngmisuk | ESPNNewYork.com

NEW YORK -- Barry Cofield doesn't need all the free time during this lockout to think about his future.

The Giants defensive tackle knows exactly what he wants once the lockout ends and that is to not have to play another season under a restricted free agent tender.

Cofield, whose contract is up, said on Thursday night that he wants to remain a Giant but will consider asking for a trade or holding out if he has to play under a restricted free agent one-year tender again. Cofield will be a restricted free agent if the NFL goes by last year's collective bargaining agreement.

"I will definitely weigh all my options and I will definitely talk to them about the possibility of a trade," said Cofield, who attended the Founders Dinner for the Jewish Childrens Center for the Arts honoring former Giant Michael Strahan.

"Hopefully it doesn't come to that but I am sure they know that. I don't want to start verbal sparring now," he said. "I want to see what happens and get in there -- they have been reasonable and they have always been candid with me and I am sure they will share their true feelings -- and hopefully we can get something worked out because this is where I want to be."

Cofield, who has been a five-year starter since the Giants drafted him in 2006, is not demanding a trade yet or causing any trouble. In fact, he repeatedly said he wants to remain a Giant and he praised management for being upfront with him and understanding of his situation.

But Cofield, 27, wants a long-term contract and for now his future remains in limbo because of the labor fight.

At the moment, several players like Cofield are awaiting to see whether they will be a restricted or unrestricted free agent based on what CBA the NFL will play next season under once the labor strife ends.

If Cofield is a restricted free agent, the defensive tackle may have to play under a one-year tender. Despite not knowing what the CBA rules will be, the Giants tendered several of their potential restricted free agents like Cofield, Mathias Kiwanuka and Ahmad Bradshaw in case they are deemed restricted free agents.

Cofield received a second-round tender, giving the Giants a second-round pick as compensation if Cofield were tendered an offer sheet by another team and the Giants opted not to match it.

The move also includes a modest salary increase from last year which would amount to a one-year deal worth slightly under $2 million, according to Cofield.

Cofield played on a restricted free agent tender last year in hopes of landing a big contract this season. The Giants initially had a draft-day trade in place last year to send Cofield to New Orleans but the defensive tackle could not agree to terms on a contract extension with the Saints.

He returned to the Giants and had his best season with a career-high 54 tackles and four sacks despite playing with a torn bicep tendon that required surgery recently. He was a key cog in Perry Fewell's defense, which also has defensive tackles Chris Canty, Rocky Bernard and last year's second-round pick, Linval Joseph.

Cofield says his shoulder is feeling terrific and that it would be ready for offseason team workouts if there wasn't a lockout. At the moment, his contract is a bigger issue.

"Not having that peace of mind of a contract ... I went through it last year but trying to go out there and do it again this coming season, I don't know if I can be happy coming to work knowing that I should have been a free agent twice," Cofield said. "Just besides the money, just the sense of security, I have a family, I want to know where I am going to live next year."

Cofield said he talked to the Giants after this past season ended and he says management understands his stance. The Giants want Cofield back. He said he would consider a one-year deal for more money if the Giants didn't want to give him an extension.

"I don't want to play for the tender again this year and they made it clear that they didn't want to do that," Cofield said. "They felt like I've been a valuable contributor to the team and they didn't want that situation again. Hopefully we can get something done. They have been handcuffed somewhat by the salary cap and questions [about] not knowing where it is going to be next year. We got to figure something out."

And if Cofield has to return under a one-year tender, the defensive tackle will have to figure out what to do then.

"To do it again, to roll the dice with injuries and all the things that can happen in this league, it is something I am not willing to do," Cofield said. "Maybe I can get in the locker room with my guys and I will be happy and think about how much I love the game and maybe I will be able to make it through. But just having that bad taste in your mouth is just a bad way to start. They usually take care of their draft picks but this is unknown territory for everybody."

Ohm Youngmisuk covers the Giants for ESPNNewYork.com. Follow him on Twitter.

Ohm Youngmisuk has covered the Giants, Jets and the NFL since 2006. Prior to that, he covered the Nets, Knicks and the NBA for nearly a decade. He joined ESPNNewYork.com after working at the New York Daily News for almost 12 years and is a graduate of Michigan State University.
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