Giants: Osi extension 'could happen'

Updated: February 25, 2012, 6:56 PM ET
By Ohm Youngmisuk | ESPNNewYork.com

INDIANAPOLIS -- General manager Jerry Reese said Saturday that the New York Giants are open to the possibility of a contract extension for defensive end Osi Umenyiora, who has said he would like to remain with the Super Bowl champions.

"We got a lot to talk about," Reese said at his NFL scouting combine news conference. "It could happen. Right now we have a lot of issues to look at and got to formulate a good game plan and see if we can get it done."

Umenyiora, 30, is entering the final year of his deal at just under $4 million and wants a new contract.

Reese says the two sides will talk soon and that the team is open to the idea of an extension.

"We are open to everything right now," Reese said about an extension for Umenyiora. "But we don't know what we can do yet (salary cap-wise). We don't even know what the cap number is going to be. There is a lot of issues that we have to fix and address. So we will see what will happen."

Reese said the Giants would like to have both Umenyiora and running back Brandon Jacobs return. Jacobs, 29, is also still under contract but has a $500,000 roster bonus due next month, and $4.4 million in salary this coming season.

Reese said he hasn't had formal discussions yet with either camp. Jacobs said he wants to remain with the Giants and would be open to restructuring his contract for a second straight year.

"We still have some discussions to go," Reese said. "Hopefully we can bring both of those guys back. They have both been really good football players for us and we are hopeful that we can bring both back."

Reese also would like to re-sign wide receiver Mario Manningham, who will be one of the Giants' 21 unrestricted free agents. Manningham, though, will test the free-agent market; he could land a potentially bigger role on another team, because the Giants have Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz.

"He's a good football player and obviously players, when free agency comes around for them, they want to make as much money as possible," Reese said of Manningham, who increased his value with a big fourth-quarter performance in the Super Bowl. "So we'll see how it unfolds."

The Giants are going to have to do some maneuvering to gain salary-cap flexibility. They have two restricted free agents (tight end Bear Pascoe and cornerback Bruce Johnson) and an exclusive rights free agent (tight end Jake Ballard).

The Giants also would like to re-sign cornerback Terrell Thomas, middle linebacker Jonathan Goff and punter Steve Weatherford, among others. They will need a tight end or two because Ballard and Travis Beckum just underwent ACL surgeries.

Cruz, who is coming off a franchise record-setting season, wouldn't mind a raise. The second-year receiver is due to make $490,000 in the final year of his contract.

"We're talking about everything," Reese said of Cruz. "Everybody thinks they deserve more after their season when you win the Super Bowl, so that's a good problem to have."

Umenyiora has wanted a raise for a long time. He was so intent on getting one last year that he made it a part of an affidavit in the players' legal fight against the NFL during the lockout. In the affidavit, he said Reese had told him a few years ago that he would get a new deal eventually if he continued to play at a high level.

At the start of training camp, Umenyiora sat out the first couple of weeks of practice in hopes of getting a new deal. The Giants briefly gave Umenyiora's agent, Tony Agnone, permission to seek a trade for a first-round pick. After finding no partners, the Giants rescinded the permission and Umenyiora eventually returned to practice three times before swelling in his knee resulted in surgery.

Umenyiora missed the first three games of the season but returned and played well before a high-ankle sprain cost him four games. When Umenyiora returned again, the defensive end had 5½ sacks and two forced fumbles in his last five games, including the playoffs.

Since the end of the season, Umenyiora has said he wants to remain with the Giants, but left his future up to the team.

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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