One of Osi Umenyiora’s former teammates says the Giants are doing the right thing by forcing him to play on his current contract, and Umenyiora needs to suck it up and play.
Antonio Pierce, who played alongside Umenyiora on the Giants’ defense from 2005 to 2009, said on ESPN Radio this morning that he doesn’t think the Giants will cave.
“It’s kind of hard to say I’m on Osi’s side,” Pierce said. “I understand it from the players’ side, but from the ownership side, they’re doing the right thing. They understand that there are some medical issues with Osi, maybe he doesn’t have a lot of good years left with his health and his body. The guy’s been very productive, but Osi needs to make his mind and say, ‘I might not go out there and get money like I think I can. I might not get Charles Johnson money. Maybe I need to settle for the $7 or $8 million I’m getting the next two years.’ So really I’m not on Osi’s side on this one.”
Pierce said Umenyiora made a tactical mistake in trying to get a new contract now, when he’s going to turn 30 this season and has questions about his health. Pierce believes Umenyiora could have gotten a better deal from the Giants earlier in his career, but now that ship has sailed.
Still, Pierce thinks Giants G.M. Jerry Reese and coach Tom Coughlin may reach the point where they don’t want to deal with the disgruntled Umenyiora, and as a result it’s still possible that he’ll get his wish of getting traded. According to Pierce, that’s what happened with ex-Giants tight end Jeremy Shockey: Eventually, Shockey’s unhappiness became a distraction in the Giants’ locker room, and that’s why he was traded.
Pierce is right that Umenyiora isn’t going to get the new contract he wants from the Giants. But it’s hard not to think that Pierce’s blunt talk about a former teammate’s contract status will make him about as welcome in the Giants’ locker room as Tiki Barber.