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Friday, June 1, 2012
Peace with Osi is huge for Giants

By Ohm Youngmisuk
ESPNNewYork.com

The long-running Osi Umenyiora contract drama has finally come to an end.

Well, it sounds like it has -- at least for a year, until Umenyiora potentially becomes a free agent, according to sources.

Osi Umenyiora, Tom Coughlin
Will we see more hugs between Tom Coughlin and Osi Umenyiora now that the defensive end's contract situation has been resolved?

But the bottom line is, the New York Giants now have a satisfied Umenyiora in tow, and that means they can move forward and focus solely on defending their championship -- without having to worry about Mount Osi erupting and becoming a distraction during training camp or the regular season.

Umenyiora ended his long contract impasse with the Giants and agreed to a restructured deal on Friday. Sources said the Giants and Umenyiora were recently discussing bumping the salary of the final year of his deal from $3.975 million to $7.5 million for 2012.

"I'm just happy, I'm happy all that's over with," Umenyiora said in a team press release. "It's time to get back to work."

The Giants did not announce the terms of the restructured deal, but it certainly appears both sides have come to a resolution that makes sense.

From the Giants' side, the organization keeps one of its most valuable players for the title defense. The NFL's best pass rush of Justin Tuck, Jason Pierre-Paul and Umenyiora remains intact -- an absolute must if the Giants are going to repeat.

"We got the best Dline in football right now," Pierre-Paul tweeted shortly after the Umenyiora news came out.

Umenyiora still views himself as a starter and will spend this season trying to prove that to the Giants and potential new employers. He is expected to rotate in and add that rare dimension he brings to the game with potential game-changing strip sacks.

Safety Antrel Rolle has said numerous times that Umenyiora's strip-sacks provide the Giants with something few defenses can do and can change the complexion of a game.

As for Umenyiora, the defensive end apparently didn't get the monster contract extension he was seeking, but he did get a more palatable raise. And if he can become a free agent next season, Umenyiora gets a crack at the big payday he wants next year. In the meantime, Umenyiora will play his rear end off for a new deal and the Giants will reap the benefits.

And by taking care of Umenyiora now, the Giants avoid the major distraction of having to deal with a contract holdout in camp for the second straight summer.

"This gives me peace of mind, definitely," Umenyiora said. "We just resolved a situation. It really was affecting me in a bad way. Because I didn't like all the negativity that was surrounding the whole situation.

"I couldn't stand it, because if you know me, you know I'm not that type of person," he added. "I'm just happy all that is over with and I'll be there. I'll play out this contract, I'll play this year and I'll play my heart out."

The person who may be the happiest about this news is coach Tom Coughlin.

Instead of answering questions daily later this summer about whether Umenyiora will report to camp, Coughlin can focus on finding a new third wide receiver and backup running back and solidifying his offensive line in camp in Albany.

The New York Giants can now focus on defending their Super Bowl championship without any distractions. And that is worth whatever price Jerry Reese paid to make Umenyiora happy.