Defensive end Osi Umenyiora punctuated Sunday’s Giants Stadium-finale with a locker-room rant indicating that he won’t be playing for the Giants in 2010.
That’s news to the Giants.
We’re told that the team has no desire to move Umenyiora, and that the franchise believes his remarks represent the latest effort to get the new contract that he has coveted since not long after he signed a long-term deal in late 2005 and then later hired agent Tony Agnone, who also represented Michael Strahan.
But what has Umenyiora done since racking up 14.5 sacks in 2005? Setting aside the night that Umenyiora treated Winston Justice like his own personal turnstile, Osi is a single-digit guy — hardly the dominant presence that he thinks he is.
In late August, Umenyiora inexplicably walked out of the building, and we thought at the time that it traced to his desire to get paid even bigger money. Some think that the ensuing dip in his performance, resulting in a demotion and only a handful of snaps on Sunday, arose from a conscious or otherwise decision by Umenyiora to dial it back until he gets paid.
So now he thinks he’ll get paid by declaring that the team doesn’t want him. With an uncapped year looming, it’s an interesting approach.
But with Umenyiora slated to earn a base salary of only $3.1 million in 2010, the Giants have no reason to let him walk — and his performance has given them no reason to rip up the last three years of his deal.
Bottom line? If the Giants didn’t cave to Strahan in 2007, they definitely won’t be caving to Umenyiora. So his best approach would be to take a few weeks off and then come to grips with the reality that he has two options in the coming year — play for the Giants, or play for no one.