Osi Umenyiora warms up before a game against the San...

Osi Umenyiora warms up before a game against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park. (Oct. 14, 2012) Credit: Getty

NEW ORLEANS -- Osi Umenyiora said he'd like to remain with the Giants, but he's given enough thought to the possibility of becoming a Jet that he already can imagine his role on the team.

"Why not?" the defensive end said via email when asked by Newsday if he would consider playing for the team that has been his local rival for his entire 10-year career. "Yes, I would. I'm sure coach [Rex] Ryan would use my skill set the same way he used Michael McCrary in Baltimore."

McCrary was a 6-4, 260-pound end who played for the Ravens from 1997-2002, accumulating 51 sacks. Ryan was on the coaching staff for McCrary's final four years there.

The Jets could use a pass rusher, although Umenyiora has played in a 4-3 system his entire career and the Jets use a 3-4. The Jets also might not be able to afford him, given their salary-cap constraints.

That might not matter, because for the first time since the end of the regular season, Umenyiora sounded amenable to returning to the Giants. After saying it was "time to move on" and "highly probable" that his Giants career was over, the free agent now is willing to consider another term with the only NFL team he's ever known.

After trying for years to get out of his contract and reach the open market, Umenyiora said he would even consider re-signing with the Giants before the start of free agency.

"I prefer to finish out my career there," he said. "But there's a lot of things in play here. It's not going to be totally my decision. They're going to have some decisions to make also. It's going to be a collective effort. My agent's going to have his say. Hopefully, things will work out there. I prefer to stay there."

Umenyiora said his decision will not be financially based. He said he wants "a chance to prove I am who I say I am . . . a Pro Bowl player, and I feel like I'm a starter in this league."

On the Giants, that could be difficult, given the glut of talent at defensive end, including Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck and Mathias Kiwanuka.

"They have some very good football players over there," Umenyiora said of the Giants. "But if they want me back and we're able to come to an agreement, I'll definitely be there."

Cruz wants to be priority.Although Victor Cruz had said he wanted to have a new deal with the Giants completed by the end of their 2012 season, he said he's "not getting antsy" that negotiations seem to have stalled.

"I'm just waiting my time," Cruz said Thursday at the Super Bowl. "I know the Giants have a lot of decisions to make as far as all the other free agents we have, so I'm just being patient. I know they have to come around at some point."

Cruz is "waiting for them to come back to us" in the negotiations that general manager Jerry Reese said had been "tabled."

"I consider myself as a pretty high priority in the Giants' organization right now," Cruz said. "Hopefully, they feel the same way and we can get to an agreement."