Osi Umenyiora began his hold out this afternoon when he failed to report for Giants training camp. GM Jerry Reese sounded none to pleased that his All-Pro defensive end was missing in action.
Osi Umenyiora decided not to show up with the rest of his Giants teammates for the first day of work at Giants headquarters on Friday. Technically he isn't a holdout until/if he doesn't show up on Saturday, but you can imagine that the Giants have a slightly different interpretation of his decision.
The reason why Umenyiora isn't at work Friday is an old, old story familiar to anyone who has paid the slightest bit of attention to the Giants over the last few years. Umenyiora is unhappy about how much he's getting paid and he's unhappy that the Giants won't redo his contract after what he believes were promises to tear it up if he kept playing at a high level.
These feelings led Umenyiora to play an active role in the players' lawsuit against owners during the lockout, and they caused Umenyiora to file an affidavit for that case. Umenyiora, as is his wont when called out on his posturing for more money, tried to claim otherwise, but the writing was on the wall for a training camp battle.
Now it is here and the Giants are the only ones who can put it to an end. Their two options are pretty much the same options they've had all along and the same options that we've discussed ad nauseum over the last few seasons.
They can give Umenyiora a new contract, something that makes absolutely no sense. The Giants are up against the cap, drafted Jason Pierre-Paul last year and just re-signed Mathias Kiwanuka as a free agent so they have little ability or need to concede to Umenyiora's desire for a new deal.
Their other choice is to trade Umenyiora and let him become someone else's problem while acquiring pieces that can help the team. The Giants have been resistant to doing this because Umenyiora's pass rush skills are an important part of the defense, but there comes a point where you have to accept that it is time to move forward.
If there was any kind of a promise made to Umenyiora, even a conditional one, a trade is also a way for the Giants to honor it. They don't want to give him more money, so they owe him the chance to go and make it somewhere else.
Some would say that the Giants should do nothing as Umenyiora is under contract for the next two years. That's all well and good, except for the part where it hurts the Giants on the field and does nothing to solve the problem of Umenyiora wanting more money or a different employer.
By not showing up, Umenyiora has made it clear that the status quo isn't an option. The Giants shouldn't want any part of it either.
Trading Umenyiora now would give the Giants a chance to focus on more important issues for a team that really needs to return to the playoffs this season. It's time to answer Umenyiora's pushes with a shove.