If Barry Cofield is forced to return to the Giants in 2011 on a one-year contract tender, the sixth-year defensive tackle will consider asking the team for a trade.
Cofield, who played last year on a one-year tender as a restricted free agent, said tonight at an event in New York honoring former Giants defensive end Michael Strahan that he can't see himself returning under the same circumstances as last year.
"Just playing under the tender, it would be hard for me," said Cofield, who underwent surgery to repair a biceps injury after the 2010 season ended. "It's starting to weigh on me. Just having that bad taste in your mouth is a bad way to start. They traded me last year so maybe they'll do it again."
The Giants had agreed to trade Cofield to the Saints during last year's draft, but the deal was contingent on Cofield signing a contract with New Orleans. He felt the Saints' offer wasn't good enough, and opted to remain with the Giants on a one-year deal that paid him $1.7 million.
NFL players are currently locked out, and it's uncertain when the work stoppage will end. A federal judge will hold a hearing next Wednesday in Minnesota to consider a request for an injunction to end the lockout. If that happens, the NFL would be forced to resume operations, but the league likely would impose work rules similar to the 2010 season. If that's the case, players need a minimum of six seasons to become eligible for unrestricted free agency. Cofield would thus not be eligible for unnrestricted free agency until after the 2011 season.
Cofield said his first preference is to sign a long-term deal with the Giants. But he is concerned that a glut of defensive linemen might dissuade the team from offering him a multi-year deal.