Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Osi Umenyiora has spelled out why he has wanted out of New York in a sworn affadavit:
“In early April 2008, approximately two weeks before the start of the New York Giants offseason conditioning program, I, Osi Umenyiora, had a meeting with the general manager of the New York Giants, Mr. Jerry Reese,” Umenyiora testified this past April.
“After about an hour of discussing my current contract, as well as the contracts of other defensive ends currently playing in the National Football League, Mr. Reese told me that two years from the start of the 2008 league year, if I was currently playing at a high level, we’d either renegotiate my current contract so that it would be equal to that of the top five defensive ends playing or I would be traded to a team that would do that.
“Before leaving the meeting, I asked Mr. Reese twice if he was absolutely sure that would be the case. He then told me that he was an honest and church-going man and that he would not lie, which I believed to the be the case. Under the penalty of perjury these statements are true and accurate.”
I’m not sure what Umenyiora and the NFLPA are smoking here, but Umenyiora missed the entire 2008 season with a torn ACL, and had a disappointing 2009, a season in which he had 29 tackles, 7 sacks, and 4 forced fumbles. Per the affidavit, Umenyiora was expecting that raise on the condition that he had played “at a high level,” which he had not over that 2-year span. Was he really expecting to be paid Top-5 DE money after those 2 seasons? Jerry Reese would have to be a baffoon to hand over that kind of money, considering the circumstances.
(Cont after the jump)…
It will be interesting to see if Umenyiora and Reese can still maintain a working relationship after this, or if Reese will look to deal him. In 2010, Umenyiora did in fact have a big year, as he broke the record for the most forced fumbles in one season.
If they can no longer work together, the question now becomes, what could the Giants get for Umenyiora in a trade? Over at BGN, I had previously put together a list of all the NFC East players I thought were first round pick worthy. Osi was one of 5 Giants to make the cut, although he, along with LeSean McCoy of the Eagles, were the two most debated entries on the list in the comment section. Before news of this affidavit, I would have said yes, I’d give up a 1 for Osi. 11.5 sacks and 10 forced fumbles stands on its own. That kind of playmaking ability is rare in the NFL. The downside would be that he turns 30 in November.
But with the knowledge that Osi is looking to be paid like a Top-5 DE, his value takes an enormous hit. The Giants may have to settle for far less than a 1 for Umenyiora if they can’t find a way to co-exist.