In what's become a very common offseason theme for anyone not named Hakeem Nicks, defensive tackle and soon to be unrestricted free agent, Linval Joseph, says he would "love" to return to the New York Giants in 2014, but like many others, understands the business side of the NFL.
"I would love to stay here," Joseph said last week. "This is where I started. I love this organization and I love it here. It’s home."
Despite his desire to return, Joseph realizes that may not happen. Even if the Giants do make him one of their top priority free agents, there's no guarantee they'll be able to afford him or compete with what other teams are offering the first-time free agent. And, after seeing the five-year, $55 million extension that Geno Atkins signed with the Cincinnati Bengals, Joseph is a bit excited at the prospect of big contract numbers.
“The only person I’ve focused on was Geno Atkins, because we had the same agent and when I saw his deal, I was like, ‘oh man, he deserves it,' " Joseph said recently. “That’s just something I saw. I was like, ‘Hey, my agent is pretty good.’ So I'm excited about the situation."
Although he's not likely to receive a deal as lucrative as Atkins', the 25-year-old Joseph did play exceptionally well in 2013, starting 15 games and ending the season with 59 tackles, three sacks and six stuffs. He was also rated very highly among 4-3 defensive tackles courtesy of Pro Football Focus.
The Giants do have the option of a franchise tag with Joseph, but at a cool $8.5 million for one season, it seems unlikely they'll go that route.
Only a few season ago, the Giants opted to let Barry Cofield — another quality defensive tackle — walk over his contract demands. He ultimately signed with the Washington Redskins on a six-year, $36 million deal. And while Joseph may not be seeking a contract quite that big, you can expect him to be looking for something similar to what Sen'Derrick Marks signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars, which was a four-year deal worth $22 million.
Photo Credit: Mike Gannon
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