Osi Umenyiora still wants a new deal, but maybe it doesn’t have to be as big as he previously wanted.
The defensive end said today on Sirius Mad Dog Radio that he would be willing to take less from the Giants than he would get from a team on the open market.
“You know what’s funny? If it came down to me taking less to stay here, I would,” he said.
Umenyiora may not have a choice for the 2012 season. He’s under contract and will earn a base salary of just under $4 million. But he’s been trying to engineer a trade or a new deal with the team for several years, and even had a brief holdout over the dispute last summer.
He ended that, returned from knee surgery, but he said that playing in 2011 should give him some leverage in negotiating.
“Coming back last year, going through what I went through and putting everything aside and focusing on football and helping this team win a Super Bowl, I felt that at least gives me some sort of option here as to what’s going to happen,” he said.
Ultimately, though, Umenyiora knows that he has little recourse with one year remaining on his current deal. The Giants are unlikely to just let him go in free agency after the 2012 season, though, so it would be beneficial to them to either trade him or negotiate a new deal before that happens.
“I would love to stay but everything has to make sense,” he said. “It has to make sense to them first and foremost because they’re the ones who have to make the decision as to whether they redo my deal or trade me. Everything has to make sense for everybody involved.”
Umenyiora spoke about how close he is with his teammates and coaches, and cited that as a reason he would consider less money to stay with the Giants. That kind of joy, apparently, is hard for a player to find.
“There’s really only one issue at hand with them,” he said of the Giants, a reference to his potential new contract. “It’s such a business and as you get older in this league you start to see how things unfold and how teams really operate. That mystique of everything being fun and you just going out there enjoying yourself, it kind of fades because you see what it really is.”