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Umenyiora decision a win-win for Giants

8/1/2011

While I was out watching the Redskins bump into each other, Sal Paolantonio reported that the New York Giants have given disgruntled defensive end Osi Umenyiora and his agent permission to seek a trade. In case you haven't been following, Umenyiora, who has two years and $8 million left on his contract, wants a new contract or a trade to a team that will give him one. In a sworn affidavit as part of the NFLPA's now-settled antitrust lawsuit against the NFL, Umenyiora said Giants Jerry Reese had promised him a new deal and reneged on the promise.

Umenyiora has been in camp with the Giants the past couple of days, but he hasn't been doing much because he says his hip is bugging him. Sal's report says Umenyiora will stay in camp while his agent seeks out willing trade partners.

Now, does this mean that this situation is resolved? Or even almost resolved? No. It does not. Given the very public state of Umenyiora's unhappiness in New York, it's going to be difficult to find a team willing to meet the Giants' asking price, which is likely to be a first-round pick. The Giants have no incentive, even if Umenyiora and his agent find a willing trade partner, to deal him for anything less than what they consider to be his full value. Nor do they have any incentive to trade him to a division or conference team and put him in a position to come back and haunt them. Umenyiora could find a team that wants him and the Giants could still say no for any number of reasons.

This move by the Giants is likely meant as a way of (a) letting Umenyiora believe they're interested in making him happy and (b) showing him what his value is. If no team is willing to offer enough to lure him away from New York, the Giants can tell him, "See? You have no leverage. Now play for your contract or quit, but stop doing things just to make our lives difficult."

This is a no-lose situation for the Giants, because it can't make things worse and could, conceivably, make things better. Say some team -- the Seahawks, for instance, who could really use him -- offers that prize of a first-round pick. The Giants could dump a headache at a position where they have depth and get a great return for him. But if that doesn't happen, they're no worse off than they are right now and may even find themselves in a stronger position from which to tell Umenyiora to stop complaining and play.