Last week, the terms of Osi Umenyiora's restructured contract with the New York Giants were released, and I'm here to tell you that while it was not a substantial raise, Osi deserved every bit of the extra money the Giants are giving him.
Yes, if you've read anything of mine you would know that I expected and hoped the Giants would trade Osi during this April's draft. However, I was working with the assumption that the two sides would never come to an agreement on a new deal.
I always contended the Giants were a better team with Osi. Only a fool would think otherwise. This new deal enhances the possibility the Giants bring back Osi after his contract runs out.
To be honest, the fact that Osi agreed to a raise is surprising, considering he told reporters he had no interest in a short-term contract extension. He was aiming for a long-term deal comparable to some his fellow defensive ends have been getting.
Instead, he got a modest raise for the 2012 season and has returned back to work. Instead of the $3.975 million he was set to earn in 2012, he will earn a base salary of $6 million. The Giants actually save on cap by adding a year to the contract, but that year is easily voidable and Osi will almost certainly become a free agent after this season.
Jerry Reese endured a lot of talk from Osi to reporters this off season, some good and some bad, but to finally get Osi back to camp happy is a huge win for the Giants.
Judging on production alone, if Osi is 100-percent healthy he deserves every bit of the raise. He had 12.5 sacks in 13 games (nine regular-season, four playoff). Many attribute Osi coming back healthy towards the end of the season as a huge factor in the Giants' playoff run.
The Giants defense allowed zero, 20, 17 and 17 points in their run through Super Bowl XLVI. If their trio of pass rushers (Justin Tuck, Jason Pierre-Paul and Osi) can stay healthy, this defense can be a very dangerous group.
The one lingering question surrounding this situation is how Osi feels about being a backup. If you remember, he told reporters before the draft that he feels he deserves to be a starter.
"I don't like being a backup, I can tell you that," he said. "It worked for us last year, but I was coming of an injury or whatever. But I see myself as a starter in the NFL. I see myself as a Pro Bowl type player. That's the way I see myself."
That was about two months ago, yet after he received his new contract, he told reporters "for the first time in a while, I don't really have any issues."
So what changed in that time? Nothing. The point is Osi never truly cared about being a backup, he just did not like getting paid as a backup. It was all about the money.
While it may not be considered a complete win for Osi, it definitely has to be considered a win for the Giants. They saved on their cap, gave Osi a raise, kept him happy in a contract year and kept their dominant pass-rush for their title defense.
This was a great move by the defending champs. Both parties are happy for the time being, which is all anyone could have hoped for.
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