Where will Osi Umenyiora be playing in 2011?
“I don’t know,” he said in our phone conversation this evening. “I can’t honestly answer that question.”
He does believe that the Giants and general manager Jerry Reese will be good to their word and either renegotiate his contract or trade him to a team that will pay him. But as for which of those two situations will occur, he isn’t sure.
He's said in the past that he has thought he'd played his final game for the Giants, most notably after the fnal home game of the miserable 2009 season. But even if he thinks he will be traded -- as some close to Umenyiora have said he does -- he's not saying it publicly this time.
“I don’t think that given the year that I had last year, given the fact that I set an NFL record for forced fumbles, I don’t think that they’d just want to trade me like that,” Umenyiora said. “But at the end of the day they’re going to do whatever it is that they have to do to make the team better. I don’t have any inclination as to what they’re going to do.”
He does know that if they keep him, it will be very crowded at defensive end.
“Obviously they have Justin who is a great defensive end, a great football player,” he said of Tuck. “You have a young Jason Pierre-Paul who is going to be a stud defensive end in this league. He’s young, he’s fresh. They drafted him in the first round and they gave him all that money, they have to put him on the football field. And then you have Mathias (Kiwanuka) who was obviously having a stellar year before he hurt his neck last year. Obviously they’d want to bring him back.
“And if my deal is renegotiated they’re going to put me on the field a lot,” he continued. “I have to play and I have to earn that money by being on the football field. So it’s going to be a tough situation for all of us, but I’m quite sure they’ll find a way to handle it.”
Umenyiora said he has moved out of his house in New Jersey and is now living in Atlanta, but that has nothing to do with severing ties from the Giants. He said he has no plans to sell that house (although he admitted that the soft real estate market has a lot to do with that).
He also said that he understands he has two years remaining on the six-year, $41-million extension he signed at the end of the 2005 season and the Giants, although they verbally promised him a trade or a new contract (according to Umenyiora’s sworn affidavit anyway), are within their rights to simply make him play it out.
Would Umenyiora show up for Giants training camp in 2011 under his current contract? It doesn’t sound like it.
“I’d honestly have to sit and discuss that with Tony (Agnone, his agent),” he said. “I feel like I’ve done what I said I was going to do and I’ve performed at a high enough level to warrant (a new contract), especially last season. If that’s not done after the lockout is over, I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I’m going to have to really sit down and discuss with Tony to see where I’m going to go from there.”