Osi talks to Mara about his happiness

July, 15, 2011
7/15/11
4:57
PM ET
Osi Umenyiora’s happiness with his contract will not only have an impact on the New York Giants but it could also affect a deal between the NFL owners and players.

According to our Sal Paolantonio, Umenyiora had a discussion with Giants owner John Mara about how to make the defensive end happy. As one of 10 player plaintiffs in the Brady vs. NFL federal antitrust lawsuit, Umenyiora was invited by NFL Players Association chief DeMaurice Smith to the negotiations this week in New York.

Paolantonio reports that Umenyiora didn’t sit in on talks on Thursday but did mingle with Mara and Smith during a break.

“I don’t know the details of the conversation but I’m told that around the periphery there was a discussion about at least how to make Osi Umenyiora happy,” Paolantonio said during an interview on the Ryan Ruocco and Robin Lundberg show on 1050 ESPN New York. “And I was told very specifically that Umenyiora is sticking to his gun. And you know what he wants.”

As part of Brady vs. the NFL, Umenyiora argues that the lockout is causing irreparable harm to players like himself because he is not able to negotiate a new contract with the Giants. Umenyiora -- who has two years remaining on the six-year, $41 million contract extension he signed in 2005 -- says that Giants general manager Jerry Reese told him in 2008 that if the defensive end was playing at a high level two years later, he would reward Umenyiora with a contract that would pay him like a top-five defensive end or trade him to a team that would do so.

“He wants that money or to be traded to a team that will give him that money,” Paolantonio said. “Barring that, he wants to be a free agent. He is sticking to that.”

Paolantonio reports that the plaintiffs in the antitrust lawsuit against the league want their situations resolved “before they sign off on the deal.”

“They all want to be taken care of,” Paolantonio said. “If (Umenyiora) doesn’t get it (a raise), he doesn’t sign off on the deal. If he doesn’t sign off on the deal, we have no deal league-wide. So there is going to be some kind of deal to make Osi happy.”

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Ohm Youngmisuk has covered the Giants, Jets and the NFL since 2006. Prior to that, he covered the Nets, Knicks and the NBA for nearly a decade. He joined ESPNNewYork.com after working at the New York Daily News for almost 12 years and is a graduate of Michigan State University.
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