GIANTS COULD EXTEND OSI
"The Giants are softening their stance with Osi Umenyiora.
General manager Jerry Reese said yesterday during the NFL scouting combine
that the team now is willing to consider a contract extension for the
oft-disgruntled defensive end after taking a hard line the past two years while
Umenyiora complained about being underpaid.
No talks have taken place, but Reese said an extension “could happen” that
would allow the eight-year pro — who is entering the final year of his contract
— to finish his career with the Giants.
“He loves the Giants and he loves to play football,” Reese said of Umenyiora.
“He’s been with us his entire career and I think he’d like to retire a
Umenyiora’s recent statements show his stance has softened, too. He said in a
national radio interview Friday he would be willing to accept a pay cut to stay
with the team, though Reese indicated the defensive end meant he would give the
Giants a discount on an extension instead of agreeing to reduce his 2012
Complicating the issue is the Giants likely will have to scramble to get
under the league’s salary cap, which isn’t official for next season but is
expected to be around $122 million per team.
As far as whether they will keep running back Brandon Jacobs, who is due a
$500,000 roster bonus next month, Reese would only say the Giants “are still in
The Giants are in no rush to do an extension with Umenyiora, though, because
they have the leverage. Not only did he turn 30 in November, but Umenyiora
missed seven regular-season games last year due to injury and Jason
Pierre-Paul’s emergence — especially during the championship run — reduced him
to a backup role.
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The Giants are believed to be at least $4 million over the projected $122
million cap at the moment, which is why Reese admitted the team is prepared to
lose Super Bowl hero Mario Manningham in free agency.
Reese did not deny contract talks with the wide receiver have gone poorly and
Manningham is ready to test the open market when free agency opens March 13.
Several receiver-thin teams are thought to be seriously interested in
Manningham, including the 49ers, Buccaneers, Browns and Jaguars. And as far as
the Giants are concerned, they feel 2011 third-round pick Jerrel Jernigan needs
a chance to show he can play alongside Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz.
“When free agency comes around for players, they want to make as much money
as possible,” Reese said when asked about Manningham. “We’re glad he’s been a
Giant for us, and his contributions are outstanding for us. We’ll see what
Cap concerns might keep the Giants from retaining Manningham, but Reese made
it clear that the team is willing to push money into the future — always a
dangerous way of managing the cap — in order to win now.
“You don’t like to do that, but you have to do what you have to do to get the
players you need on your roster,” Reese said. “Sometimes you have to renegotiate
some contracts and if we have to do that, we’re not afraid to do it. If we have
to do [push money into the future], we’re capable of doing it.”
The Giants might be capable of doing that, but Reese didn’t sound like would
be willing to do it for Cruz. The Giants’ second-year breakout star said after
the Super Bowl he deserved a pay raise, a demand that drew a snicker from the
“Everybody thinks they deserve more after their season when you win the Super
Bowl,” Reese said with a laugh."