As if to officially commemorate the opening of the NFL’s true offseason following the draft, Osi Umenyiora began his annual battle against Jerry Reese and the Giants’ management. Of course, money is central to his fight, but naturally it grows into much more than that. It’s a quest for truth and dignity that will determine who is or isn’t a lying ass.
So come with us as we take our first journey deep into the abyss of hearsay and conjecture. Our guide on the first leg of this magical mystery tour is the man himself.
For several years Umenyiora has made it quite clear that he’s unhappy with his current contract, one that he believes he’s outplayed. He’s right, because the two-time All-Pro has 28 sacks during the regular season over the past three years, and in 2010 he forced 10 fumbles.
But those numbers alone aren’t enough motivation for the Giants to negotiate a re-worked mega deal for two reasons. First and foremost, management needs to secure other key parts, as evidenced by the three-year contract extension worth $21.75 million that Mathias Kimanuka received Friday. Secondly, the simple reality of age isn’t inviting, and Umenyiora will turn 31 next November after a season when he appeared in only nine regular-season games.
Those are the grounds for the latest Umenyiora standoff as he’s set to make just $3.975 million in 2012 during the final year of his contract. The first salvo fired by Reese over the weekend is his claim that over the past two seasons the defensive end has been offered several contract extensions.
Umenyiora’s response to that was the predictable and delightful blend of anger and frustration, as he very much sounded like a player who knows the value of public perception during contract squabbles.
“Last year I was offered incentives. This year they offered me in guaranteed money, HALF of what they just gave Kiwi (Mathias Kiwanuka) guaranteed. HALF,” Umenyiora wrote in an email to the New York Daily News. “I’m not making that up. Then Jerry tells the world they offered me an extension and I turned it down. And I look like a greedy pig for turning it down. Hilarious.”
Kiwanuka received $10.95 in guaranteed money, and the official GLS abacus indicates that an extension worth half of what that would be $5.5 million. Despite Umenyiora’s health problems during the regular season he still had nine sacks to Kiwanuka’s 3.5, and while Kiwi is younger, it’s not like Umenyiora is part of the black and yellow Walkman generation, while he was firmly raised in an MP3 culture. Kiwanuka is just two years younger than Umenyiora.
Umenyiora thinks he compares favorably to Indy’s Robert Mathis, the 31-year-old DE/OLB who signed a contract extension in March with $15 million guaranteed. He does, as over the last three years Mathis has 30 sacks.
So as we begin the latest battle in Umenyiora v. Reese, it seems there’s only two possible endings: a trade, or a merciful end to Reese’s stubbornness after a lengthy training camp holdout.
And now you want to know the rest of the story…
- Since this is work that we won’t have to do now, here’s a complete roundup of every undrafted free agent signing following the draft. [Patriotsdraft.com]
- When the Browns drafted Brandon Weeden in the first round, it became quite clear that Colt McCoy needs to be traded, and preferably soon. I wrote that on Friday, and today Mike Florio pointed out another potential downfall to retaining McCoy. If he stays on the roster, the pieces are in place to duplicate the Brady Quinn disaster. [PFT]
- The players on the Browns’ roster most impacted by Cleveland’s draft picks. [Tony Grossi]
- Seattle’s selection of Bruce Irvin with their No. 15 overall pick has been cast as one of the most confusing reaches of the draft for a player who would have easily been available in the second round. That’s what we were led to believe by the pundits and draftniks, but the truth is that the team on the clock directly behind Seattle in the first round was ready to take Irvin. [NFLdraftscout.com]
- After watching what his former teammates went through when he went down for the season, Peyton Manning wanted the Broncos to pursue a quality backup early. [Gregg Rosenthal]
- Denver is the latest team to join the digital revolution and transfer their playbooks into tablet format so that several acres of trees aren’t killed through the repeated printing of 500-page documents. Amazingly, even though we’re now on the last day of the fourth month in the year 2012, Denver is just the third team to go paperless. [Denver Post]
- Warren Sapp’s new gig as a TV judge seems like it’s a real thing that actually exist, and that’s thoroughly depressing. [Media Rantz]