The New York Giants just announced that they have signed defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka to a three-year contract extension, which has led to speculation that the team is preparing to ship out disgruntled defensive end Osi Umenyiora prior to (or perhaps during) the second and third rounds of the NFL Draft scheduled to take place this evening.
Kiwanuka played outside linebacker for the Giants last year, but only out of necessity. His natural position is at defensive end, but the Giants had great depth at that spot (with Justin Tuck, Jason Pierre-Paul and Umenyiora all rotating) and were seriously lacking depth in their linebacking corps. With the signing of this extension, Kiwanuka is likely to return to the D-line.
Umenyiora’s name has been linked to trade rumors for nearly a year. He’s been unhappy with his contract in New York and the team’s unwillingness to renegotiate a new deal with him. Umenyiora is set to enter the final year of his contract in 2012 and he will earn just $4 million. He reportedly wants to be paid around $10 million per year on a long-term deal, a number the Giants are unwilling to agree to. It makes sense for the Giants to get something in return for him now if they have no plans to extend him.
“Next year, if I leave, they won’t get anything,” Umenyiora said. “Maybe they will get a compensatory pick. But that’s it. So if they are going to (make a trade), now would be the best time to.”
Umenyiora is 30 years old, so he likely still has three or four years of top production left in the tank. Despite playing in only nine regular season games last season, Umenyiora managed to rack up nine sacks, 25 tackles and two forced fumbles. He registered another 3.5 sacks during the Giants’ playoff run.
If the Giants decide they are serious about trading Umenyiora, now would be the time to do it. The G-Men could probably get a fourth or perhaps even third round pick in return. Of course, any team trading for him would first want to sign him to an extension.
Teams rumored to be interested in acquiring Umenyiora include the Dallas Cowboys, Tennessee Titans and New England Patriots.