On-again, off-again trade talks aren't usually very good for the psyche—just ask Kobe Bryant, who demanded that the Los Angeles Lakers make a decision on whether or not to trade Pau Gasol.
The same could be said for New York Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora, who was part of the antitrust case against the NFL when he claimed general manager Jerry Reese had backed out on a promise to pay him or trade him.
He's taking a much softer stance this year, as he said Monday on SiriusXM NFL Radio's The Opening Drive via the Daily News:
I'm just going to be really quiet, that's for sure. I ain't going to say nothing. I don't need that.
As for what direction he sees things headed?
I could see things going either way. I could see where they would want to keep me. I could see where they would want to trade me. I am going into the last year of my deal, so they might want to get some value back. Hopefully I'll be able to stay here and finish out my career, but it's a business and they're going to do what's best for them, and I have to try to do what's best for me.
He's thinking with a more level head than he has in the past, and he's absolutely right.
Don't get me wrong—Osi definitely deserves to make more than $4 million for what he can do. But why keep him around if he's simply going to walk away for nothing next year?
There are a few good reasons to trade Osi.
If the Giants were sitting any closer to the cap, they'd be sitting on its lap.
For the second straight year, the Giants are too close to the cap to make any big-time moves in free agency. That was part of the issue behind them not re-signing Umenyiora last year and is part of the issue again this year. They are expected to be $5 million to $7 million over the salary cap, according to Brian McIntyre of Football Outsiders, and will have to make a move.
Unloading Umenyiora's contract, which is just under $4 million for 2012, would quickly help the team get closer to that goal. With Victor Cruz also looking for a payday, there could simply be too many mouths to feed in the years to come.
Given Osi's earlier comments, it's clear that he wouldn't mind waiting to get a deal done. His trade value is high right now, given the premium teams are now putting on pass-rushing talent.
Osi's numbers this season were spectacular considering the limited action which he saw, and his stretch performance (5.5 sacks in the team's final five games) is proof that his injury doesn't threaten to slow him down.
Jason Pierre-Paul. Mathias Kiwanuka. Justin Tuck. These are just a few of the defensive ends at the Giants' disposal.
Clearly, Osi had a huge impact when he was on the field, but it's no mystery that the Giants have enough talent to plug in his place. There's no question that there would be a drop-off from Osi to his replacement, likely Kiwanuka. If he had played every down this season, he may have challenged Michael Strahan's single-season sack record.
But with names like those above waiting in the wings, the transition figures to be much smoother than it would be losing a talent like Umenyiora at another key position.
Not for a lack of talent or a fear of a locker room meltdown, but simply for purposes of value, money and depth, it's time to address the giant elephant in the room.