NFC East: osi umneyiora

I can understand Osi Umenyiora's frustrated logic. It's been years now, and he hasn't been able to get any satisfaction at all on his contract situation. Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. So you look for aspects of the situation you can control and you change them.

Given very few such options, Umenyiora has apparently decided to exercise one, and he has fired his agent:
"We both decided he really wouldn't be able to help me out with this situation," Umenyiora said in an email response to "I haven't hired a new agent, and I'm not really looking to hire a new agent."

Umenyiora has long been seeking a new contract extension from the Giants. He is entering the final year of his contract worth just under $4 million.

So the question is: How does this affect Umenyiora's chances of getting the new contract he seeks and the Giants' chances of avoiding a holdout?

And the answer is: Probably not even a little bit.

My thing is, I don't see how Tony Agnone was the problem here. Yes, there have been contract disputes throughout sports history that were poisoned by the relationship between the agent and the team and improved once the agent was out of the picture. But throughout the Umenyiora situation, I have never heard anyone indicate that the relationship between Agnone and the Giants was even the slightest part of the problem. The issue between Umenyiora and the Giants is a very simple one: He believes he should be making more money than his contract stipulates, and the Giants believe he should play for the contract he signed.

It doesn't matter which side of the argument you buy. The facts are that each side has a point but the Giants have no reason to budge. Umenyiora's only option is to sit out and not play, and we have discussed many times on here the considerable downside to that course of action. Fines, lost salary, damage to reputation. Umenyiora will show up and play eventually, and the Giants know it. Depending on how well he plays, they could do a new deal with him at some point this season or next offseason. But when that time comes, I don't think it's going to matter who Umenyiora has representing him in the negotiations. As long as the team has all of the leverage and the player has none, there's really not a lot the agent can do.

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.

Breakfast links: Eli's advice for Luck

October, 27, 2011
Four days until Eagles-Cowboys. I'm sorry, Giants and Redskins fans. You know I love you. But this week, Eagles-Cowboys is just plain where it's at. Fortunately, the links play no favorites.

New York Giants

Back in 2004, when he was the No. 1 pick in the draft, Eli Manning wanted to be in New York, not in San Diego, and he got his wish. His message for presumptive 2012 No. 1 pick Andrew Luck: He has no regrets about directing where he ended up.

Jason Pierre-Paul is one of the breakout defensive stars of the NFL this year. But if having Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora healthy at the same time means he has to play fewer snaps, that's fine with young Jason, who appreciates what those guys have done to help him become the player he's become so quickly.

Dallas Cowboys

Jason Garrett continues to say he hasn't yet decided who will start at running back this week -- the perpetually disappointing Tashard Choice, or DeMarco Murray, the rookie who broke Emmitt Smith's team record for rush yards in a game last week. Whatever. Who cares who "starts"? And who cares who gets more carries once Felix Jones is healthy again? Aren't the Cowboys better off using their talented backs in the situations that best fit their skills? Shouldn't they all get to play? Aren't there enough snaps for everyone? I think there should be.

And on defense, the Cowboys could be getting stronger, as another 2011 draft pick is now ready to help out. Bruce Carter could be limited to special teams at first, but you never know. He could help out at linebacker sooner rather than later.

Washington Redskins

Santana Moss puts his return timetable at three to six weeks, which would obviously be better than the five-to-seven-week timetable we were given earlier in the week. Regardless, it would seem that Fred Davis is liable to catch a boatload of passes between now and whenever Moss gets back.

And here's a story about John Beck getting more comfortable with the starting quarterback's job, even though I really don't think quarterback is the Redskins' most important position and I expect it to change back and forth between Beck and Rex Grossman at least a couple of more times before this season ends.

Philadelphia Eagles

Asante Samuel is upset that the Eagles talked about trading him. He said some nasty stuff about the guys running the front office, then kinda sorta backed off of it later in the day. Whatever. It's all there if you're into that sort of thing. The Eagles didn't trade Samuel. They might next offseason. Meantime, I'm sure he's perfectly interested in helping this year's team win.

Trent Cole should be back this week, and overall the Eagles' defense is getting healthier. 2010 first-rounder Brandon Graham might even be back soon, though it's unclear what role he'd play. Cole's return can only mean good things, though, for Philly as it prepares for a crucial game against Dallas on Sunday night.

Weekend mailbag: Eagles' future

August, 20, 2011
No game tonight in our fair division, so I'm'a dip into the mailbag, take a few questions and then knock off for the rest of the day.

st8prop from Atlanta read Andrew Brandt's recent story on the Logan Mankins contract in New England and wonders why the Giants don't apply a similar "cash-for-cap" concept to a new contract for Osi Umenyiora. St8prop specifically asks if the reason the Giants don't do this is because cash-vs.-cap isn't the issue in the Umenyiora situation.

Dan Graziano: I believe you're 100 percent correct, St8. I don't think the Giants feel any motivation whatsoever to re-work Umenyiora's deal. They don't have to and don't want to -- didn't even before he had his knee surgery Friday. It's not a matter of not having enough money or cap room to pay Umenyiora. It's a matter of the team believing he has the contract he's supposed to have and should play for it. Totally different from Mankins' situation and from DeSean Jackson's situation in Philadelphia, where all parties agree Jackson's underpaid and that something needs to be done. From the Giants' standpoint, the Umenyiora situation didn't need correcting.

Ben from Washington, D.C., asks, assuming John Beck wins the Redskins' starting quarterback job, how long a leash the team will give him before switching to Grossman. "If they start 0-2, 1-3, do they pull the plug?" Ben asks.

DG: I think it's going to have more to do with what they see from Beck specifically. They'd never admit this out loud, but in their heart of hearts I'll bet the Redskins' coaches know they're in the early part of a rebuilding project and that it's going to be tough for them to contend for the playoffs this year. For that reason, I don't think they make a quarterback switch just because of a poor won-loss record start. I think they'd do it if they felt like Beck was overwhelmed and unable to handle the responsibility of being a starter. If they feel like he's showing good signs and making progress but losing anyway, I believe the leash will be long.

Brad from Minneapolis points out that many of the free agents the Eagles signed during their recent spree are on one-year contracts and wonders if that indicates that they're "building both for this year and the future, as they could be in line for a bunch of compensatory picks in next years draft.

DG: Well, Brad, the Eagles would certainly have you believe that, and they've pointed it out several times in discussing their signings. While they're clearly loading up for a run at the Super Bowl this year, they bristle at the notion that they'd sacrifice part of their future to do so. And the one-year deals, along with the pick they got from the Cardinals along with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in the Kevin Kolb deal, help back them up.

Dale from Novato, Calif., asks whether the Cowboys would pick up a veteran wide receiver in case Kevin Ogletree and the rest of the young guys on the roster don't pan out in a No. 3 receiver role.

DG: Wrote about this this other day, Dale, but I don't think the Cowboys are viewing the No. 3 receiver as a top priority. With tight end Jason Witten and running back Felix Jones in the mix as major threats in the passing game, and with Miles Austin and Dez Bryant each looking to get his share of catches, the Cowboys believe they have plenty of options and that Ogletree or anyone they brought in to replace him would be a fourth or fifth option in the passing game at best. That's not to say they'd pass on a good deal if someone became available or if Austin or Bryant had an injury. But at this point, the sense I get is that they're planning to stick with what they have for now and see if it pans out.

I also did read all of the notes on the Michael Vick/Roger Goodell issue and the Tom Brady/Eli Manning issue. To those who offered kind words and compliments, thanks. To those who asked specific questions, I offer these answers: No, I am not an idiot. Yes, I was serious. No, I don't agree that I should be fired, but thanks for the suggestion. And I feel I explained somewhat thoroughly, in the writing of them, how I can think all of that stuff I wrote.

Love the mailbag. Keep it full, folks.