Another Battle With Osi Umenyiora Begins

Umenyiora, unhappy about his contract, no-shows start of Giants camp

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    NEWSLETTERS

    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. (Published Friday, Jul 29, 2011)

    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.

    Coughlin: "I'm Willing To Listen."

    [NY] Tom Coughlin: "I'm Willing To Listen."
    Speaking to the media on the day training camp opened, Giants head coach Tom Coughlin was swamped with questions on free agent wide receiver Plaxico Burress, and whether a reunion is in the cards. Coughlin and Burress will dine out Friday night, and the head coach said it's a chance for the two, who have butted heads in the past, to clear the air. (Published Sunday, Jul 31, 2011)

    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.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.