Leverage Indicates New York Giants Have Little Reason to Rush with Osi Umenyiora

Brad Gagnon@Brad_Gagnon NFL National ColumnistMay 17, 2012

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - JANUARY 01:   Osi Umenyiora #72 of the New York Giants looks on against the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium on January 1, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Good pass-rushers might be hard to find, and you can never have too many. But that's not the reason the New York Giants are allowing Osi Umenyiora to twist in the wind.

At this juncture, the Giants have no way to lose and little reason to rush.

I do agree with the sentiment that quarterbacks and men who are charged with having to hit quarterbacks are the most crucial to an NFL team's success. But with an embarrassment of riches in at least one (arguably both) of those areas, the Giants probably would love to exchange the aging, distracting, disgruntled and injury-prone Umenyiora for someone who can help protect the quarterback from the men trying to sack him.

The problem is that no one is going to give up a game-ready offensive lineman for a 30-year-old with an expiring contract.

There are subtle indications that Umenyiora, who is likely to hold out again if he isn't offered a long-term contract that meets his expectations, is being shopped on the trade market. But there's no indication a move will be made in the immediate future.

Maybe Giants GM Jerry Reese's asking price on that market, like Umenyiora's in contract negotiations, is too high right now. Maybe he's waiting for injuries during offseason workouts and/or training camp to drive up the desperation level and create a bidding war for a veteran defensive end like Umenyiora. 

Both parties have been relatively quiet recently in regard to the impending standoff, which is a bit surprising considering that Umenyiora made his Twitter debut this month. In April, the two-time All-Pro made it known (again) that he'd like to be traded and (again) called Reese out. And then he went dark.

So now we wait. 

The Giants have the leverage here. They averaged 2.7 sacks per game without Umenyiora last year and 3.2 per game with him. That's significant. But they also have the bodies to replace Umenyiora and still field a premier pass rush. Jason Pierre-Paul's emergence might have helped Umenyiora earn his second championship ring, but it did more harm than good to his bank account.

Until Reese can get anything better than some mid-level draft picks for Umenyiora, it makes little sense for him to do anything but call the man's bluff. With Pierre-Paul and Justin Tuck in the starting lineup, he has that luxury.

Worst-case scenario for the Giants: Umenyiora holds out, leaves after the 2012 season and you probably end up with a compensatory draft pick that rivals anything you'd have received on the trade market.

Second-best scenario: Umenyiora joins camp late again, performs in a similar fashion to last year and leaves after the season. You still get a compensatory pick.

Best-case scenario: A team with lots of depth in the secondary or on the offensive line loses its top pass-rusher to a season-ending injury at some point this spring or summer. You flip Umenyiora for a player who can contribute immediately and wash your hands of the ordeal.

Tough business.