The New York Giants Should Extend Osi Umenyiora’s Contract
New York Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora has been making the headlines lately with his open criticism of General Manager Jerry Reese and his contract situation. The same thing happened last offseason as well, where Osi threatened to hold out if he wasn’t given a new contract. Ultimately, Osi got on the field and played football and the Giants won a Super Bowl. Now, Osi is back at it, opening his mouth to everyone that walks by him about how Reese lied to him and that he was promised a new contract. Osi became angry when the Giants gave Mathias Kiwanuka a three-year contract extension and has come out and said the Giants are making him out to look like a “greedy pig.”
The back and forth between Osi and Reese is purely a case of he-said, she-said and Reese has publicly stated that Osi’s words will not play a role in the Giants trying to re-sign him, something the Giants are trying to do. This is the right move by Reese. There is no need to engage in a verbal tug-of-war with one of your best players. Let him vent. It means nothing. If this is the biggest distraction the Giants face as they gear up to defend their Super Bowl title then so be it. That is a very good problem to have, a player who wants to stay with the team, wants to get paid for being one of the best at his position, and who won’t sulk on the field if he doesn’t get his way.
Umenyiora has been an integral part of a defense that has led the Giants to two Super Bowl Championships in five years. He has made two Pro Bowl appearances in 2005 and 2007 and was named to two All-Pro teams in 2005 (first team) and 2010 (second team, Associated Press). He has been in the top ten in sacks three times and is currently 13th on the active sacks leader list. In 2010, Osi had 10 forced fumbles, a league record, and is one of the best in the NFL at the strip-sack where he gets the quarterback to fumble the football. He has 30 forced fumbles in his career. Every team in the NFL needs a player like Osi Umenyiora. His on-field production has been fantastic, there is no question. This past season he only played in 9 games as a result of injury but still recorded 9 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. He added another 3.5 sacks and one forced fumble in the Playoffs. Osi is one of the best defensive ends in football.
Osi’s problem is Osi. He has a big mouth. He isn’t the first football player to open his mouth too often and he won’t be the last. Football players have a short career, especially when it comes to maximizing their earnings potential. They want to get paid and they want it immediately. That is understandable, especially in a league where few dollars are guaranteed. You could sign a huge, eight-year contract this year and be cut in two years and never see a dime beyond what you have already made. Football is a merciless game both on and off the field.
Reese has publicly stated that the Giants are, “a better football team with Osi Umenyiora on our team. We respect him as a football player. So our goal is to have Osi play football for the New York Giants and retire a Giant.” Those words might be PR but they are also true. The Giants are a better football team with Osi Umenyiora. Reese should be working towards a contract extension with one of his best players. It is only logical. Words mean nothing. Osi went out there last season and played hard when he was healthy. In the nine games he played in, he recorded three multi-sack games and added another one in the playoffs against Green Bay. He has the ability to absolutely dominate a game with his ability to get to the quarterback and cause him to fumble the football.
The New York Giants are a better football team with Osi Umenyiora. The Giants are at their best when they get unrelenting pressure on the quarterback and they have some of the best in the game at being able to do that. With Justin Tuck, Jason Pierre-Paul, Mathias Kiwanuka, and Osi able to line up in various packages on the defensive front few teams are able to stop them. You can’t double team everyone. Last season, despite injuries hampering Osi and Tuck, the Giants placed third in the NFL with 48 sacks behind the Minnesota Vikings and Philadelphia Eagles who both had 50. Had Tuck and Osi not been dealing with nagging injuries, the Giants probably would have led the NFL in that category. That is how good this defensive front is. The Giants don’t need to rely on schemes and blitzes because their front four at any given moment can bust through the offensive line and make your quarterback regret being born. That is an effective weapon to have but the Giants must make sure they have all of the bullets for their weapon and Osi is a part of that ammunition.
The Giants need Osi and Osi needs the Giants. He fits the system and I think everyone on that defensive front benefits from each other. If Osi were to leave as a free agent he might be able to get more money but I don’t think his production would be as good as it has been with the Giants. What is happening right now is just talk. Osi has done it before and I am sure he will do it again. He isn’t hurting anyone’s feelings. He might be aggravating some fans who might see him as ungrateful but I honestly can’t say I blame him for wanting more money or a little security moving forward. Who doesn’t want job security? The only difference is Osi has microphones stuck in his face and writers who follow his Twitter account and report his musings as news. I have confidence the Giants and Osi will reach an agreement on a new contract and Osi’s mouth will only be yapping at offensive linemen and quarterbacks.
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