- Dan Graziano, ESPN Staff Writer
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In this video about the contract dispute between the New York Giants and defensive end Osi Umenyiora, Adam Schefter suggests that the Giants could still trade Umenyiora at some point down the road, though he points out that their best opportunity to do so may have expired Saturday when this year's draft ended. It's clear at this point that the relationship between player and team management is fractured, and it's increasingly clear that a new contract is not in the offing.
Sure, you can still deal a guy for a player, or for some future picks, but in general it's easier to get deals done before the draft if you want to get real value. I don't imagine the Giants will want to just dump Umenyiora to be rid of him, since they've had opportunities to do that in the past and have turned down every one. They held the line with him a year ago and got great production out of him en route to their Super Bowl title. I see little reason to believe they won't take the same tactic this year. And if he wants to hold out, I'm sure they feel fine about their pass rush in the hands of Justin Tuck, Jason Pierre-Paul, Mathias Kiwanuka and the rest of the gang.
I thought earlier this offseason that the Giants would be wise to trade Umenyiora in advance of the draft, since his value was high coming off the Super Bowl run and teams with which they would have been negotiating might not have felt as strong a concern about his recent injury history. But they didn't, and at this point the right move is probably to ride it out.
I do not, for one second, buy the argument that Umenyiora's situation and/or behavior can be a distraction in the Giants' locker room. Anyone who really thinks that hasn't been in that room. The Giants have a strong nucleus of veteran leaders. Their young players are, by and large, intelligent, high-character guys who have been shaped by those strong veteran influences and respect the coaching staff. Most of the players on the roster have been around long enough to know there's always something going on with Umenyiora and his contract, and I can't imagine any significant way in which it might affect anyone on the team other than Umenyiora himself. And that provides Jerry Reese even more leverage if he wants to play hardball with Umenyiora and dare him to sit out the final year of his contract and try and convince some other team next year that he was right to do so.