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New York Giants 2012 Season: Most Likely Osi Umenyiora’s Farewell Tour

June 2nd, 2012 at 7:00 AM
By Paul Tierney

Many New York Giants fans expressed jubilation yesterday when word came out that defensive end Osi Umenyiora had signed a new restructured contract with the team. However, the details of the contract only confirmed what many fans have long suspected: that this will be Osi's final season with Big Blue.

'Defensive Line' photo (c) 2012, Ted Kerwin - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Instead of extending Umenyiora's deal, General Manager Jerry Reese merely gave the star defensive end a considerable amount of "hush money" to entice him to play out the final year of his current contract without causing any more controversy. Although many fans would love to see their beloved Umenyiora finish his career with the New York Giants , this season may very well be a farewell tour for the 10-year veteran. Below, we will look at why the New York Giants will most likely cut ties with Osi after this season.

Age and Injury ConcernsOsi Umenyiora will turn 31 this season, and with his previous injury history, it seems likely that we will see a drop in his production in the near future. Osi missed the entire 2008 season with a torn meniscus in his knee, and he missed seven games last year with knee and ankle injuries. It would not be prudent to give significant money to a player that is not only entering the latter stages of his career, but also has a considerable history of serious injury. Although Osi Umenyiora is still capable of being a good player in the NFL, it is safe to say that his best days are behind him. Giving a raise to a player who will only produce less as the contract goes on does not make any sense from the Giants' standpoint.

New York Giants Depth at Defensive LineEven if the New York Giants could overlook Osi Umenyiora's age and injury concerns, the incredible depth of the defensive line is another reason to let the star defensive end walk at the end of the season.  With Justin Tuck, Jason Pierre-Paul, Chris Canty, Linval Joseph, and Marvin Austin, the Giants  would still have considerable depth at defensive line even without Osi on the roster. Yesterday when addressing Osi Umenyiora's contract situation, New York Giants safety Antrel Rolle stated:

"We have a very, very good defensive line without Osi, without a doubt. But with Osi in that lineup we have an outstanding defensive line."

While Rolle certainly was not trying to imply that Umenyiora is expendable, he acknowledged that the Giants still have an extremely talented defensive line without him. Osi Umenyiora is the third defensive end on the depth chart and is mainly used as a pass rushing specialist. He does not play every down and has never been considered a run stopper. It would be uncharacteristic of General Manger Jerry Reese to give a significant contract to a non-starter and a player who is more of a luxury than a necessity.

Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul Will Soon Need New ContractsBoth Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul have outplayed their current contracts and will be hitting the free agent market in two and three years respectively. However, Jerry Reese may be inclined to lock up his dynamic defensive end duo before they ever get to free agency. That being said, it is going to take a considerable amount of money to make that happen.

It would not be a stretch of the imagination for the Giants to have close to $20-$25 million per year locked up in their two star pass rushers in the foreseeable future. Although Osi Umenyiora is reported to be seeking top-5 defensive end money, his market value can better be measured by the contract that Robert Mathis of the Indianapolis Colts signed this offseason at 4 years/ $36 million. Both Umenyiora and Mathis have been in the league the same amount of time, both have had the same amount of sacks over the past two seasons, and neither have ever been the premier pass rusher on their respective teams. Granted, Mathis had five more games to reach the same number of sacks as Umenyiora. However, the Colts often played from behind last year, causing opposing teams to pass less, and therefore giving Mathis less opportunities to rush the passer. Furthermore, Mathis is much better against the run and is considered to be more of an every down defensive end than Umenyiora. He has a cleaner bill of health than does Osi; so Osi will most likely take a little less than the $36 million Mathis got.

If the Giants want to keep both Tuck and Pierre-Paul for the foreseeable future, signing Osi Umenyiora to a long term contract anywhere near what Robert Mathis received would seriously jeopardize those efforts. The Giants can only have so much money tied up at one position, no matter how important it is, before it is time to seek younger and cheaper alternatives to fill the depth chart. Also, Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz will surely both want number one receiver money in the near future, so paying your third best defensive end any serious amount of money is not an option if Jerry Reese wants to keep the team's young core intact.

Osi Umenyiora has been an outstanding player for the New York Giants ever since he came into the league in 2003. Since that time, he has won two Super Bowl's, made two Pro Bowls, and has garnered the respect and admiration of every New York Giants' fan who has had the privilege to watch him play. Unfortunately, the NFL is a business, and as Antrel Rolle eloquently pointed out yesterday "business is business and sometimes business can get a little sticky." The Giants are coming to an eventual crossroads, where they are going to have to pay their core of young players. As much as all parties involved would love for Osi Umenyiora to finish his career with Big Blue, the business side of the NFL will most likely preclude that from happening.

At some point while watching Osi Umenyiora play this year, take a second to think about all he has meant to the entire New York Giants organization. He has been part of the core of Big Blue through several ups and downs, and no matter what he has always left his heart out on the field attempting to bring home a victory for the New York Giants. However, understand that this is likely that last harrah for number 72 in a New York Giants uniform.

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Tags: Antrel Rolle, Chris Canty, Football, Hakeem Nicks, Indianapolis Colts, Jason Pierre-Paul, Jerry Reese, Justin Tuck, Linval Joseph, Marvin Austin, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Osi Umenyiora, Victor Cruz

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28 Responses to “New York Giants 2012 Season: Most Likely Osi Umenyiora’s Farewell Tour”

  1.  Krow says:

    Well … Osi is … and has been … a great player for us. Two Superbowls and lots of big plays along the way. Out side of his incessant contract b-tching he’s been a solid citizen. Good locker room guy too.

    However I can’t help feeling that we should have Belichicked him this year … traded him off and gotten a pick or two. Because this time in 2013 we’re going to have nothing.

    •  Dirt says:

      Because that’s worked so well for Belichick over the last 7 or so years? Trading impact players from a good team keeps you competitive, but prevents you from getting over the top.

      •  Krow says:

        Winning a Superbowl is quite a complex endeavor. Plenty of teams never make a trade … and never win a championship either. So I suspect it’s not as cut and dried as you say. And the Patriots have had more than their fair share of success.

        However your theory will get the definitive test this year.

        We have a happy Osi. And avoided the dreaded trade. Therefore we should repeat. We’ll know in 7 months if you’re correct.

  2.  Dirt says:

    I stopped reading this one-sided article when I got to “Osi has never been the premier pass rusher on his team”

    •  Dirt says:

      Of course, in crunch time, the last regular season game (win and in) and playoffs, Osi had 5.5 sacks and a huge FF, vs. 1.5 for big blue kool aid poster boy JPP, but who’s keeping track?!

    •  Dirt says:

      2011: #2 with 9 (injury shortened)
      2010: #1 (T) with 11.5
      2009: #1 with 7 (The Sheridan Incident)
      2008: DNP (Kiwanuka’s highest ever 8 as a full time starter)
      2007: #1 with 13 (Strahan 9)
      2006: #1 with 6 (Strahan 3)
      2005: #1 with 14.5 (Strahan 11.5)
      2004: #1 with 7 (Strahan 4)
      2003: Way back with 1 (Strahan 18.5)

      Seems to me he was the premier pass rusher on his team for 7 straight years, and is still elite, if only currently eclipsed by an absolute freak)

      •  Paul Tierney says:

        I think you almost answered your own question when you posted those statistics. Being the premier pass rusher on a team does not necessarily mean more sacks; it means who teams are preparing for and view as the guy who needs to be double teamed and payed the most attention to. I think your statistics prove Osi is a great player, which I gave him credit for in the article, but there has always been someone better on the other side of him. If Osi had played in 08, he would have been that guy, but every other year of his career he has had someone else on the other side of him that teams have feared just a bit more.

        •  Dirt says:

          So Bruce Smith and Reggie White weren’t premier pass rushers because their high sack totals meant people were double teaming someone else?

          Or maybe JPP went off in 2011 because people feared Osi more?

          •  Paul Tierney says:

            Bruce Smtih and Reggie White are both Hall of Famers and were much better players than Osi. They were the best players on their respective teams and still put up those numbers anyway. However, Osi has always had someone on the other side of the ball that was teams feared more than him. Just because he had more sacks doesn’t change that.

            JPP didnt have OSI for 7 games last year and did just fine. So i think its safe to say that statement is false.

            •  Dirt says:

              I guess we’ll agree to disagree that a guy who led his team in sacks basically for 7 years was the premier pass rusher on that team and isn’t just living off the success of others.

              •  Paul Tierney says:

                Every player in the NFL lives off the success of others. It is a team sport and it takes a team to generate individual success. Osi, when healthy, has always been a great player. He just has never been the best player at his position on his own team. We could argue this point until we are both blue in the face; however, it does not address the main point of the article.

  3.  Dirt says:

    Nosh.0 says:
    June 2, 2012 at 3:55 AM
    Didn’t Strahan hold out an entire training camp, publicly state that he hated coach Coughlin, openly criticize the Offense in the late 90?s/early 2000?s, helping create a divide between the units?………….But umm that guy is G.O.D.

    People on this site love to hate on Osi. It’s like Mets fans who hate on David Wright. Makes no sense.

    No one cares if a DE is good against the run, go be a linebacker if thats your skill. DE’s job is to get after the QB. FF, sacks, those are game changers, stopping a ball carrier for a 2 yard gain instead of a 6 yard gain isn’t swinging momentum.

    And for your info, G101 golden boy Mathias Kiwanuka has had 7 sacks in a season……once. In 2008 he had 8. His next highest total is 4.5.

    There are players on this roster whos value and skill are debatable. Osi is not one of those players. Moving on.

  4.  fanfor55years says:

    Well, this may be Osi’s last season with the Giants, but I disagree about nearly everything else in the article.

    Osi isn’t a starter? Says who? The Giants have a three-man rotation into which they throw a fourth for supplemental purposes at defensive end. Tuck, JPP and Osi are ALL #1 DEs and everyone in the league knows that. And if you need a turnover at a crucial moment in the game there is no one in the NFL who does it better from the defensive line than Osi Umeniyora. No one.

    Osi’s getting old, and injury-prone, and therefore not worth another 3-4 years under contract? Last I remember, Michael Strahan, Reggie White and Carl Eller had many of their greatest seasons in their 30′s and each of them had fought through injuries that were as bad as anything Osi has suffered.

    You cannot spend too much money on one position? What if that position, along with quarterback, is what has won you two championships and is the basis for your entire team approach? There is a price that Jerry Reece will not pay to retain Osi, but none of us know how the Giants intend to allocate their cap. Perhaps it would be a good decision to make sure that we retain Osi, Tuck and JPP in order to maintain a dominant pass; retain Kenny Phillips to make sure we cannot be beaten over the top; retain an elite left tackle to protect Eli; retain Hakeem Nicks as our #1 receiver for the next 6-7 years; retain a top cornerback; keep Weatherford; and otherwise make use of drafts and relatively inexpensive players (ie. veteran offensive linemen who are considered better than average but no better than that) to fill in the rest of the spots. I’m not saying that’s what we’d do, or saying that’s the only strong approach, but it would be justifiable and might well work. And remember, as the cap rises there will be the flexibility to do the above plus retain another 2-3 major chips (perhaps Cruz, perhaps Williams, perhaps a defensive tackle or additional defensive back).

    And boy am I tired of seeing this myth that Osi isn’t good against the run repeated so often that it is now received wisdom. Okay, he isn’t the equivalent of Tuck in that area, but how many are. I believe, based on what I’ve seen, that he is better-than-average against the run. I have no stats to prove it, just my eyes. But if he IS that, and you combine it with his place among the top 3-4 pass-rushers in the NFL, you have a defensive end who has a pretty reasonable argument that he really is worth top 5-10 defensive end money.

    I don’t think we should assume anything about Osi and the future of the team at this point. This may be his swan song. But he may play his career out here. Months ago everyone assumed he’d be gone. Then there were many who assumed he’d be a problem this season. Now many assume he’ll certainly be gone next season. Perhaps. Maybe even likely. He WOULD be missed. Yes, we could draft a top pass-rusher, and perhaps Trattou at his bulked up weight will prove a revelation this season. But Osi will be missed if he’s gone. I’m going to wait to see what happens and think it’s premature to assume anything.

    •  Krow says:

      When Osi is in the game his job is to rush the passer … not stuff the run. He’s doing exactly what he’s told to do. I’m with you on the ‘myth’ nonsense. We see this happen a lot. Manningham continually running bad routes … Diehl constantly getting beat off the edge … the OL ‘worst in the NFL’. A year a go it was ‘Eli doesn’t protect the ball’.

      Like any myth it grows in ‘truthiness’ as it’s repeated.

      But there’s also another myth … that everyone hates Osi and thinks he’s over rated.

      When he was acting like a total b-tch … crying on Twitter and in the press how he was lied to and how much he wanted out … many people, myself included, speculated that IF IF IF he was going to be a Shockey-esque problem then we should think about a trade. But even in the worst depths of his antics virtually everyone conceded that we were a better team with him on it. No one wants to see him leave. No one doubts his value. It’s all about making the best of a difficult situation.

    • Dan BentonDan Benton says:

      Technically, Osi isn’t the starter. It’s JPP and Tuck. And the 3-4 year # comes from Osi himself, who says he’s only got a couple years left before he’s relegated to spot duty.

      That said, I am not on board with the theory Osi is poor against the run. I’ve never agreed with that.

      •  fanfor55years says:

        Those are quibbles Dan. You know as well as I do that Osi would start on just about any team in the NFL except the Giants and that he will wind up with about as many snaps in 2012 as will Tuck and JPP. Anyway, while “technically” he may not be a starter, he’s a #1 DE and I don’t think anyone questions that. All but a very small number of teams would install him as their RDE the moment he wound up on his roster.

        And I’m not suggesting Osi has more than 3-4 years left in him. That would take him to around 35 years old. I’m simply suggesting that it’s just not true that a 31-year-old defensive end doesn’t have much football left in him. Many others before Osi have proved that’s not true. I named some of them, but there are others. I can see a team giving Osi a 4-year, $38MM deal with $18MM guaranteed and having no compunctions about doing so. Jerry Reese will not offer him that, but if Osi would consider a 3-year deal at about $23MM with the same $18MM guarantee I think Reese would have to think very hard before deciding not to do that. I think he’s be worth it. We’d wind up with about $25-$27MM invested in our top three defensive ends (I’m making an assumption about what Tuck and JPP will get paid), which is an awful lot, but we’d have cemented a good chance to win another Lombardi Trophy or two while Eli is still in his prime.

    •  Paul Tierney says:

      Osi isnt the starter in the sense that there are two defensive ends ahead of him on the depth chart. It’s not really that important whether he is actually called a starter or not, but the point is that Giants have considerable depth at defensive line without him.

      I think being old and injury prone is more than enough reason not to give a player a significant contract. Above, you named three HALL OF FAME players and said they all had great years in their 30′s. As good as Osi is, he is not going to the Hall of Fame and you can not expect him to produce like any of those three players mentioned above. The Giants current cap situation would suggest that the money can better be spent elsewhere.

      As far as Osi against the run is concerned, he has had good seasons against the run in the past. In 2005, he had 70 tackles. However, at this point in his career he is a third down/ passing situation specialist. If he were an average defensive end against the run, his coaches would play him against the run. They don’t. If your just going to use the eye test, I’ve seen Osi get washed out against the offensive line a few too many times in my opinion. He’s not incompetent versus the run and does make the occasional play; however, as his career progresses he will become more of a specialty player.

      Lastly, the market for Osi is going to be closer to the 4 years/$38 million you mentioned rather than the $20-23 million . I know your assuming Tuck is going to get paid, but if you give Osi 4 years, then you need to pay Tuck and JPP and Osi top DE money at the same time. That would account for a little over 1/4 of your salary cap invested in one position. I’m not sure that is practical.

  5.  Krow says:

    Ravens lost another DE to a torn Achilles. So it’s not just us with that sort of luck.

  6.  kujo says:

    Have the contract details been released? If not, the premise of this article–that Osi’s gone after this year–could just as well be wrong.

    • Dan BentonDan Benton says:

      Bumped salary for this season with a voidable year in 2013 (according to some) to soften the cap. All agree that he WILL be a free agent after this season.

      •  kujo says:

        Why would they void his contract next year if it’s so cap-friendly?

        The breakdown I saw is that he’ll be getting the veteran minimum as his base salary this year, with the rest of the money coming via a signing bonus spread out over this year and next. That comes out to roughly $4 mil each of the next 2 years.

        So, again, why would they want to void that extra year if this is so cap-friendly?

        •  Dirt says:

          Furthermore, why would they want to void that and take a $4M cap hit for someone not on the roster?

          •  kujo says:

            And why wouldn’t they want to keep Osi, now that he’s gonna be all happy and motivated?

  7.  Dirt says:

    I disagree with FF55, Dan and Krow. EVERYONE knows Osi is simply terrible against the run. Everyone remembers that one game against Denver in 2009 where the Giants got absolutely gashed on the left side. Someone even said the Broncos were trying to run left, because Osi was so bad at defending the run.

    •  Dirt says:

      Oops, nevermind, I looked at the stats. The Broncos averaged 4.29 YPC that night on 21 attempts. Spot on on the Giants average for the season, good for 14th in the league, i.e. average. Not horrible. And that included a second level featuring CC Brown, Aaron Rouse, Danny Clark, Michael Johnson, James Butler. Clearly they’re going to Canton, so the only thing keeping the run defense as “average” was obviously Osi’s deficiencies.

      It’s still one of my favorite folk stories though.

      1st and 10 at DEN 16 C.Buckhalter left tackle to DEN 18 for 2 yards (M.Johnson).
      1st and 10 at DEN 46 C.Buckhalter left end to NYG 49 for 5 yards (T.Thomas).
      2nd and 5 at NYG 49 C.Buckhalter left end to NYG 42 for 7 yards (T.Thomas, A.Rouse).
      1st and 10 at NYG 29 K.Moreno left tackle to NYG 24 for 5 yards (C.Webster).
      2nd and 6 at NYG 13 K.Moreno left guard to NYG 7 for 6 yards (M.Johnson, T.Thomas).
      1st and 10 at DEN 44 K.Moreno left tackle to DEN 45 for 1 yard (T.Thomas).
      2nd and 10 at NYG 45 (Shotgun) K.Moreno left guard to NYG 34 for 11 yards (M.Johnson).
      1st and 10 at NYG 26 C.Buckhalter left tackle to NYG 29 for -3 yards (C.Blackburn).
      1st and 10 at DEN 11 C.Buckhalter left guard to DEN 16 for 5 yards (J.Tuck; M.Boley).
      2nd and 5 at DEN 16 K.Moreno left end pushed ob at DEN 27 for 11 yards (C.Brown).
      1st and 10 at DEN 21 K.Moreno left tackle to DEN 31 for 10 yards (A.Rouse).
      1st and 10 at DEN 25 K.Moreno left tackle to DEN 27 for 2 yards (B.Cofield).
      2nd and 8 at DEN 39 C.Buckhalter left end to DEN 41 for 2 yards (C.Brown).
      2nd and 5 at DEN 41 K.Moreno left end to NYG 48 for 11 yards (C.Canty).
      2nd and 6 at NYG 32 C.Buckhalter left end to NYG 31 for 1 yard (A.Rouse).
      1st and 10 at NYG 19 K.Moreno left tackle to NYG 16 for 3 yards (J.Tuck).
      2nd and 7 at NYG 16 K.Moreno left tackle to NYG 17 for -1 yards (T.Thomas).
      NYG-R.Bernard was injured during the play.
      2nd and 4 at NYG 30 C.Buckhalter left end pushed ob at NYG 20 for 10 yards (C.Brown).
      1st and 10 at NYG 20 C.Buckhalter left guard to NYG 19 for 1 yard (C.Blackburn).
      3rd and 1 at NYG 11 C.Buckhalter left end to NYG 9 for 2 yards (D.Clark).
      1st and 10 at NYG 48 K.Moreno left tackle to NYG 49 for -1 yards (J.Tuck).

  8.  Anthony Raia says:

    In terms of Bennett being overweight. While he may be 291 pounds, he just posted a pic on Instagram and he has a 6 pack or pretty close to it. Either hes not 291 pounds or he put on a ton of muscle because he doesnt look overweight.

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