The New York Giants and Osi Umenyiora have agreed on a restructured deal for the 2013 season. Osi gets a raise from the $4.7 million he was due to make this season to around $7 million. The deal also allows him to become a free agent at the end of the year. So what does this deal mean for the Giants and Osi moving forward?
One thing this deal did do was soothe some of the bitterness that had developed between Osi and the Giants. From threats of holding out, to lawsuits during the lockout, to chatter in the newspaper, Osi Umenyiora never wavered on his position that he wanted a new contract with the Giants. New York Giants GM Jerry Reese never wavered from his stance that he wanted Osi in the fold and wanted him to retire as a Giant.
If the Giants wanted to play hardball they had all of the ammunition in their camp. Under the new collective bargaining agreement players can be fined up to $30,000 per day for not reporting to camp. This would have forced Osi to basically forfeit his 2012 salary and sitting out the year before free agency would have hurt his stock immensely. However, Reese played his cards correctly. He always maintained that Osi was a New York Giant and should retire as such and that a new contract should be worked out that was reasonable for both sides. He let Osi vent to friends and the media and never got himself involved in a war of words with his star defensive end.
As talks dragged on, Osi let his agent, Tony Agnone, go and negotiated the deal restructuring himself. This was key. It meant that Osi and Jerry could get along in the same room, that any animosity developed between the men, and I am not saying there is any, could be put aside for the greater good of the New York Giants. During the process, Osi received an outpouring of support from teammates like Mathias Kiwanuka, Justin Tuck, Antrel Rolle, and Jason Pierre-Paul. They wanted Osi back and Osi wanted to come back. He will even be at OTA’s today as the Giants once again gather at the Timex Performance Center to prepare for their Super Bowl defense.
Osi has been a key cog in the Giants defense since he was drafted in the second round of the 2003 NFL Draft out of Troy State. Although he was relegated to a backup role last season, Osi still managed to record 12.5 sacks in the 13 games he played. He was a force in the postseason, recording 3.5 sacks as the Giants went on their improbable Super Bowl run.
However, this new deal will have no bearing on the 30 year-old once this season is over. He is still slated to become a free agent and it is likely he will test the free agent waters. A player of Osi’s stature could command a very sizeable contract from a team with needs on the defensive line and some money to burn and they could do a lot worse than Osi Umenyiora. However, one thing was proven in this whole drama, the players love Osi and Osi loves them. I don’t know if the Giants will make an effort to re-sign Umenyiora but Jerry Reese has not wavered from his stance that he wants Osi to retire a Giant. His not using all of the ammunition at his disposal to ensure Osi honored his contract is a clear sign that there was a willingness on both sides to ensure a more placid future, even if that future is only one more year. However, given all that has gone on and the fact that both sides have maintained their intent, I see a new contract getting done to keep Osi as a Giant moving forward. That is the best move the Giants can make.