Let's continue with our occasional 'keep or cut?' series, looking at New York Giants who might be on the bubble if and when the 2011 NFL season every begins. In today's crosshairs? Veteran defensive tackle Rocky Bernard.
Let's lay out the reasons on both sides of the Bernard debate.
Why the Giants should keep him
The Giants signed Bernard, 31, to a four-year, $16-million dollar contract prior to the 2009 season. This would be the third year of that contract and, while Bernard has not had a huge impact in his two seasons, $4 million annually might not turn out to be such an atrocious number.
There is also the fact that Bernard is really one of only two experienced defensive tackles the Giants have entering the 2011 season -- the other being Chris Canty. Second-year player Linval Joseph is unproven and rookie second-round pick Marvin Austin is talentend, but has not played in a year and is also, obviously, a complete unknown.
Bernard is not the player the Giants thought they were getting. He had a career year in 2008 before the Giants signed him, with four sacks and a career-best 55 tackles. He really isn't as bad as you might think, either. In 324 snaps a season ago he finished with two sacks, 18 tackles and a +7.1 rating from Pro Football Focus. In 789 snaps Barry Cofield was 44 tackles and four sacks with a +16.3 overall rating. So, you could say Bernard was roughly just as productive as Cofield in limited opportunities -- maybe another reason Cofield won't get big money from New York.
Why the Giants should cut him
Well, this comes down to the fact that Linval Joseph and Marvin Austin need to play, and $4 million is a lot to pay a guy if he is going to be the fourth defensive tackle on your team. Then there is this -- which is pure conjecture. If you favor Cofield and want to keep him, maybe you can make the argument that the Giants can take the $8 million they would be giving Bernard for the next two years and throw that toward Cofield in an attempt to keep him.
Vote in the poll and let us know what you think.