Tom Coughlin wants core back

Updated: February 24, 2012, 3:24 PM ET
By Ohm Youngmisuk | ESPNNewYork.com

INDIANAPOLIS -- The New York Giants have several decisions to make as they prepare to defend their Super Bowl title.

Running back Brandon Jacobs and defensive end Osi Umenyiora are two key Giants who are uncertain about their futures due to their contracts. But Tom Coughlin says Jacobs is a big part of the Giants' future and he expects Umenyiora to be back as a Giant.

"Brandon's been an outstanding part of our team for any number of years [and] two Super Bowl teams," Coughlin said at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis. "And as far as I'm concerned, he's a big part of [the team's future]."

When asked if he expects Umenyiora to be back as a Giant, Coughlin replied, "I do."

Jacobs and Umenyiora are both under contract for the upcoming season. But Jacobs has a $500,000 roster bonus due next month to go with the $4.4 million he will earn this coming season. The running back wants to return and said this week that he expects to be back. He has said he is open to restructuring his contract for a second straight season if it is fair.

The Giants likely will have to do some maneuvering to create cap flexibility.

"You'd love to think that all of our players are going to be here," Coughlin said. "Brandon is certainly one of them. There's a hallmark that we stick to by position. Brandon is very rare, very rare."

Umenyiora has one-year remaining on his deal at just under $4 million. He wants a new contract but he also wants to remain a Giant.

Umenyiora was asked on SiriusXM's Mad Dog radio how important of a factor money is in staying or leaving.

"You know what's so funny?" Umenyiora replied. "If it came down to me taking less to stay here I would."

Mario Manningham, however, may leave for the best offer. The wide receiver who had the most memorable catch in the Giants' Super Bowl XLVI win over the Patriots is one of the Giants' 21 unrestricted free agents. He could not only leave for more money but also a more prominent role since the Giants have Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz.

"You'd love to have him back," Coughlin said. "We're not naive. The guy just made a Super Bowl memorable play."

If Manningham leaves, wide receivers like Ramses Barden and Jerrel Jernigan could have the opportunity to become the team's third receiver.

"The guys that we've had, just as we lined up last year with all kinds of questions, they did very well," Coughlin said. "So the thoughts are that the players that are currently a part of our team are going to have great opportunity."

As for his own future, Coughlin said he has not yet got into serious talks with ownership about a contract extension. He currently has this coming season remaining on his deal but John Mara, team CEO and president, said he would eventually sit with Coughlin to discuss an extension.

"We haven't talked seriously," Coughlin said.

As for how much longer the 65-year-old coach wants to keep working, Coughlin said, "Everybody thought I was kidding. What did I say during the season, 72?"

Ohm Youngmisuk covers the Giants for ESPNNewYork.com.

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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