With a collective bargaining agreement still to be hammered out between now and the start of the 2011 NFL season no one knows for sure what free agency will look like this off-season, or when it might begin. As the rules stand right now, though, the New York Giants face the possibility of seeing several of their big-name players available on the open market.
The biggest of those could be running back Ahmad Bradshaw and defensive tackle Barry Cofield. Let's run down the full list of Giants who are eligible for free agency. I will use an (R) next to the name of any player who is restricted. A teams has the right to match any offer given to a restricted free agent.
Let's start with the key players.
Ahmad Bradshaw (RB) (R) -- A four-year veteran, Bradshaw gained a career-high 1,235 yards rushing and 1,549 yards in total offense. For the Giants, the question with Bradshaw will be not whether they want him or not, but how much are they willing to pay.
D.J. Ware (RB) -- Not really a 'key' guy, but one who the Giants have been hoping would step up for several seasons. Might be better off with a fresh start elsewhere.
Steve Smith (WR) (R) -- A Pro Bowler in 2009, missed the end of the season with a devastating knee injury. Smith will almost certainly re-sign with the Giants, but not for the money he could have made if he stayed healthy.
Kevin Boss (TE) (R) -- The guess here is that Boss plays the market to see if he can get more than the Giants might be willing to pay, and also find a team willing to throw him the ball more often than the Giants do.
Mathias Kiwanuka (DE) (R) -- Kiwanuka will be a tough case, and it is all dependent on the severity of the neck injury he sustained in 2010. If he can play the Giants have already said they would be willing to offer him a one-year 'prove you are healthy' contract. If someone offers him more than that, the Giants would likely let him go. Of course, all of that assumes he would be healthy enough to play in the first place.
Barry Cofield (DT (R) -- Cofield has been looking for, and not getting, a big payday from the Giants for a couple of seasons. The four-year veteran just completed the best season of his career, and someone will give him that big payday. It will be interesting to see if the Giants are willing to match. I suspect they won't be.
Keith Bulluck (LB) -- The Giants signed the veteran from Tennessee to a one-year deal. Bulluck made little to no impact, and it's unlikely the Giants will bring him back.
Deon Grant (S) -- Another veteran signed to a one-year deal for 2010. Grant had an excellent year and the Giants should want him back. Grant wants to start, though, and the Giants can't offer him that with Antrel Rolle and Kenny Phillips at safety. Grant may choose to move on to a place where he is more than a part-time guy.