With the 2012 NFL Draft taking place Thursday, April 26th, 2012, the rumor mill has began to turn on possible roster moves for teams around the league.
Osi Umenyiora is currently in his final year of his seven-year, $41.3 million dollar contract with the Giants. He’s scheduled to make just under $4 million in base salary in 2012.
The New York Giants have said they’re willing to give Umenyiora a new contract, but with their defense already having exceptional defensive ends in Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Tuck and him being a back-up, he’s likely to be getting the short end of the stick on payment.
Last year, Umenyiora wanted a new contract and sat out the first two weeks of training camp last summer to attempt to get it. The team briefly allowed Umenyiora to seek a trade with the team seeking a first-round pick in return. It’s highly unlikely that he would be worth that on the market currently, also.
With the New Orleans Saints having defensive end Will Smith‘s rumored to be facing suspension due to his role in the bounty scandal, they’ll need a productive replacement to step in immediately and contribute.
Last season, defensive ends Will Smith, Cameron Jordan, Jeff Charleston, and Junior Galette had only a combined 13 sacks. The Saints also have Greg Romeus and Turk McBride at the defensive end position. Charleston has been on the offseason and practice squad and is currently an unrestricted free agent.
In 2011, Will Smith had 6.5 sacks to go along with 35 tackles and he has helped the team this offseason by restructuring his contract in order to free up some much needed cap space.
It’s reported that the Giants may be willing to let him go for a third round pick. However, the Giants also may be willing to take a pair of late-round draft picks, if anything, in order to get something out of Umenyiora while they can.
“Would I want to? I think it would be ideal,” Umenyiora said while promoting the NFL Play 60 Youth Football game for Xbox 360 Kinect. “I think I would if things could be worked out. But is that going to happen? I really don’t think so.”
“Next year, if I leave, they won’t get anything. Maybe they will get a compensatory pick. But that’s it. So if they are going to do it, now would be the best time to.”
Umenyiora played in just nine games last season, due to having arthroscopic surgery on his knee. In those nine games, Osi managed to record 25 tackles, nine sacks, and forced two fumbles. He tacked on an additional 3.5 sacks during the Giants Super Bowl run.
He is 6’3, 255 pounds, and is a 31-year veteran entering his 10th season in the NFL. He was a second-round selection (56th overall) by the New York Giants in the 2003 NFL Draft out of Troy University.
He’s one of the better pass rushers in the league, and that ability is much-needed from the front four of the New Orleans Saints defense who rarely generated any pressure.
In Umenyiora’s nine seasons as a pro, he has achieved six sacks or more in seven of the nine seasons. The only season he didn’t achieve the six sack mark was his rookie year in 2003. He didn’t play in the 2008 season due to injury. For his career, he has had 333 tackles, 69 sacks, 12 pass deflections, and 30 forced fumbles.
The bonus to this, is he already has shown his ability to play in New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s defense. Umenyiora thrived under Spagnuolo’s scheme in 2007 when Spagnuolo was defensive coordinator for the Giants, when he recorded 52 tackles, 13 sacks, and five forced fumbles on the way to their Super Bowl victory. The familiarity with the scheme will definitely help make this an intriguing possibility.
He has told the New York Giants that he doesn’t want to play under his current contract as he did last year, but he would be willing to play under his final year for another team to prove his worth.
The only downside to this gamble is his injury issue, but if he can remain healthy, this would further add to the list of players the Saints have added to their defense that significantly improve them. Not to mention, his productivity is up in the air for years to come. However, where it may not be a long-term solution, it makes sense for the short term.
In 2011, the Saints finished 24th in overall defense, were 12th against the run in the league, and 30th against the pass. The Saints however, were 13th in points allowed in the NFL, allowing 21.2 points per game. He would be an effective addition to the defense in the 2012 season.
The New Orleans Saints are $4.7 million under the cap. That includes middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma’s restructured contract, cornerback Jabari Greer’s three-year contract extension and quarterback Drew Brees‘ $16 millionish franchise tag counted in. However, it does not factor in the restricted franchise tender that outside linebacker Jonathan Casillas signed or the one-year deal for kicker John Kasay.
With the NFL Draft taking place tomorrow, it’s likely a move could be made soon if the Saints wish to acquire the talented defensive end.