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In 2005 Osi Umenyiora, defensive linemen for the New York Giants, signed a seven year contract worth about $41 million dollars; $15 million of that amount is guaranteed.
With 2 years left on this contract, Osi is scheduled to make around 3 million for the remaining two years of that contract, becoming a free agent in 2013. Umenyiora is asking for a restructuring of his contract or to be traded if the giants can’t accommodate him.
Last season, there were rumblings of trouble brewing with the contract situation of the pro bowl defensive end, but to the point where his production suffered on the field. However, we might have a different situation this upcoming season, given the fact that Osi has not stepped foot on the field to practice with his team.
The Giants granted Osi permission to seek a trade but that window closed a few days later when the giants changed their minds. Now a furious Osi has informed the G-Men of a sore knee that will not allow him to participate in practice; anything else for that matter.
He reported to camp in order to avoid being fined a large amount by the team for every day he did not report to camp; he is at camp participating in the class room but he is holding his ground in terms of practicing or giving an edge to the Giants.
At this point, he is running out of options. At the end of the day, the teams hold all the cards. They can always say play out your contract and we will reward you; but, therein lays the problem.
Osi has testified in the recent labor talks that the G-Men and the general manger promised him a new contract if he outplayed his current contract. Having had over 10 sacks two out of the last three seasons, he feels he has held up his end of the promise and awaits the Giants to do their part.
The giants would in fact love to have a motivated Osi playing for them but at what cost? This franchise is not begging around the league for serviceable pass rushers- they have many lined up to play and the defense will survive, or thrive even.
Kiwanuka is back from an injury-plagued season and let’s not forget about Jason Pierre Paul who was an early draft pick last season and is playing with the first team in training camp at this point.
Both sides need to sit down and figure this out because a situation as divisive as this can devour the locker room. At the same time though, those on the outside need to do just that, stay on the outside. Let us not place all the blame on Osi and proclaim him a trouble maker, a greedy player trying to steal money.
Consider the fact that the Chiefs just gave Tamba Hali a record contract for his great year last season and Carolina set the bar pretty high when they gave their defensive end $72 million over six years. Both guys have been rewarded and neither one has had the production that we have seen over the years with Osi Umenyiora.
All we hear now is that these trouble makers who gave their word should honor their contracts with their respected teams; players like Chris Johnson of the titans or Desean Jackson of the Eagles. We must remember how many contracts have been terminated by teams who feel a certain player hasn’t lived up to his contract, or hasn’t produce to the expected level.
The giants just released two players under contract just to save money. There is no loyalty from the front offices of teams in the NFL; and shouldn’t it work both ways then.
If outraged when a player with two or three years left on their contract gets cut, then you can show that same outrage at a player like Osi Umenyiora. In fact, if he had underachieved and accumulated less than 10 sacks over the last 3 years, he would likely be released, traded or asked to take a pay cut.
It may not be in the best interest of the team or the locker room for this dispute to be occurring at this time or through the media, but players who hold out should be allowed to do the same thing the owners do every year. But of course, in the world of sports, nothing is equal.
Public perception is everything and the man or woman who signs the checks is never dragged through television explaining why this player or that player was cut before his contract was up. Why was this player released after being injured the prior season?
Don’t let the obscene amount of money blind you to the facts, or place all these players in a box of “the greedy” or, “the humble.” It should work both ways although, the power is ultimately in the hands of those that sign the checks.
This issue between the Giants and Osi Umenyiora should not last all season and end up casting a shadow on the team but at this point, the options are few.
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