Of all the Giants' free agents, the most likely to leave was always Barry Cofield, for whom they believe they have procured young replacements in each of the past two drafts. And on the first day he could, Cofield did in fact decide to leave the Giants ... for the division-rival Redskins.
CofieldRich Campbell of the Washington Times tweeted this morning that Cofield's deal in Washington is for six years and $36 million, with $12.5 million guaranteed. He wanted a big contract, the Giants told him they didn't want to pay him what he wanted and Washington did.
So he jumps. I'm not totally clear on how Cofield, who was a 4-3 defensive tackle in New York, fits into the Redskins' 3-4 defense. They need a nose tackle and a defensive end, and I imagine he could play either or both. I remember Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett telling me last year that he planned to use Albert Haynesworth (another former 4-3 defensive tackle) in both roles depending on the situation, and so maybe he has a similar plan for flexible usage of Cofield. The Redskins' next defensive line move is likely to tell us more about how Cofield fits in -- i.e., if they get a nose tackle, he can expect to play a lot of end, and if they get Cullen Jenkins, Cofield can probably expect to play the nose a lot. My guess is it's the latter, and that this takes Washington out of the hunt for a guy like Aubrayo Franklin.
Cofield will help, there's no doubt. Washington will get plenty of pass rush from outside linebackers Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan, but it can't hurt to have somebody on the line who knows how to get into the backfield from the interior. More work to do on that defense yet, but Washington has procured a good player it can use in a variety of ways. Time will tell if it overpaid or if the Giants were right to let him walk. Linval Joseph and/or Marvin Austin will have to step forward to replace Cofield in New York.