According to Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv, New York believed it had agreed to terms with Cockrell before he came to the facility. Then, after the 29-year-old went through COVID-19 testing and his physical, he opted against signing the contract (Twitter link). Vacchiano reminds us that the Giants also believed they were in agreement with Cockrell on a new deal back in 2018, but Cockrell ultimately backed out of that agreement and signed with the Panthers.
The Bills selected the Duke product in the fourth round of the 2014 draft, and he appeared in seven games for Buffalo during his rookie year, mostly as a special teams contributor. He was released before final cutdowns in 2015 and hooked on with the Steelers shortly thereafter. He ultimately played in 31 games (23 starts) over two seasons in Pittsburgh, and he was traded to the Giants before the start of the 2017 campaign. Advanced metrics were generally fond of his work with the Steelers and the Giants, and it made sense that New York hoped to re-sign him in 2018.
Cockrell wound up not playing at all in 2018, as he suffered a broken leg during his first training camp with the Panthers. He ultimately appeared in 14 games (11 starts) for Carolina in 2019, and though he tied a career-high with 62 total tackles and tallied two interceptions, he was not as sharp in coverage as he had been in previous seasons.
Still, the Giants are exceedingly thin at cornerback behind free agent acquisition (and former Cockrell teammate) James Bradberry, so Cockrell may have had a real chance to re-establish himself as a starting-caliber corner with Big Blue. Instead, he is still looking for work.
For what it’s worth, head coach Joe Judge said adding a different veteran CB is not a priority, which suggests he’s comfortable with his in-house options (Twitter link via Dan Duggan of The Athletic).
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.