Osi Umenyiora signed a six-year contract extension for $41 million with $15 million guaranteed in 2005. This contract gave Umenyiora $21 million in the first three years, and now he wants a new one.
But he needs to honor his contract.
A top-five defensive end in the NFL is worth a first-round pick, and the news around the league is that he's not worth that much. That's a big reality check for Umenyiora.
Yes, he just came off a hip injury, and no coach is going to be ecstatic to have a player on his roster that carries himself the way Umenyiora has, but that's no excuse. If he was worth what he claims, he would've been on another roster by now. It's as simple as that.
If they get a first-rounder for him after this mess, they pack up and call it a day. However, they knew, just like every team in the NFL knew, that wasn't happening.
Umenyiora recently sent an email to Associated Press and referenced Charles Johnson's new contract, (six-year deal worth $76 million.)
"How does a guy who had one good year (no disrespect to Charles Johnson) sign a deal and make more than both me and [Justin] Tuck combined? It's not right," Umenyiora wrote.
Well Umenyiora, do you see Justin Tuck, the leader of the Giants defense, demanding a new contract? No? Oh okay, me neither.
As a man, when you sign a contract, you honor it. That's it, no questions asked.
Umenyiora knew his contract was front-heavy when he signed it. Pulling this feud now, with a shortened free-agency period, and with the Giants already being over the cap is flat out ridiculous. If Umenyiora were a true team player, he'd shut up and head to training camp.
Even if the Giants had the money to give him a better deal, they'd be ignoring other needs. Signing tight end Kevin Boss and receiver Steve Smith are huge priorities for the Giants. Giving Umenyiora the money he wants and not re-signing Boss and Smith would be extremely foolish.
There are rumors about the Jets going after Umenyiora, but trading Umenyiora to the Jets would be even more foolish. Do the Giants really want to trade Umenyiora to a Jets team where he'd have a HUGE chip on his shoulder?
Plaxico Burress is already playing for the Jets, who just recently burned the Giants. He has own chip on the shoulder to deal with and trading Umenyiora to the Jets would have bad move written all over it on a huge neon sign.
The Giants have three options:
1) Trade Umenyiora for a second-round pick, and possibly a fourth.
2) Keep Umenyiora on the roster and hope he comes to this senses. Maybe even re-work his contract and throw in some incentives to tie him over.
3) Cut him. This is obviously the worst of the three, and I highly recommend against it.
I want Umenyiora to come back. He's great for the pass rush and he'll more likely than not put up another great year. Do I want him for Charles Johnson money? Of course not.
But he's still an important player on this defense—top five or not.