Gotta hand it to Jerry Reese. He's cagey.
The Giants GM told a very dissatisfied Osi Umenyiora, "Sure, go ahead and feel teams out for that trade you want." What he didn't tell the pass-rushing defensive end is that, if Reese holds fast to his demand for a first-round draft pick in return, Umenyiora has about as much chance as a snowball in a brick pizza oven of finding such a trade.
And, according to the Daily News, Reese has never had any intention of reworking Umenyiora's current deal that pays him $7.1 million over the next two years.
Basically, he told the defensive end to go out, see what his market is, and then get back to work here because the interest he thinks is there simply isn't. At 29, coming off hip surgery, a lost season in 2008, a subpar comeback season in 2009, and albeit a great season in 2010, Umenyiora's value to the rest of the league is simply not as great as he believes.
Still, the Daily News indicated that five teams have shown some interest, the most enticing being the St. Louis Rams. Coached by Umenyiora's former defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, and having plenty of cap room to accommodate a contract that could pay him nearly $10 million per year, the question for them is whether he's worth a first-rounder to boot. Tough deal, especially for a building team like the Rams.
Seattle, San Diego, Denver, and Baltimore reportedly are also in the so-called hunt. One must assume, however, that unless one of those teams can convince Reese to take less -- say a second-rounder -- Umenyiora won't be going anywhere.
While all this is going on, the defensive end has taken a page out of the Jeremy Shockey book of team relations. Become such a humongous pain in the neck that the Giants have little choice but to get rid of you. And that's fine, except that Umenyiora is a lot more sensitive about his public persona than Shockey ever was. Which is why he wrote the Associated Press a whiny e-mail that he's not really a bad guy for wanting to seize the contract day.
"What really annoys me is the hypocrisy of people clamoring for my head for asking for a new deal or to be traded, saying I have two years left on my deal," Umenyiora wrote. "These contracts only mean something to us? Where is (recently released center Shaun) O'hara? Where is (recently released guard) Rich Seubert? True inspirational football players. They were cut after being injured. They have years left on their deal. Why is (running back Brandon) Jacobs asked to take a pay cut? He has years left on his deal.
"The fact is in the business we are in, if you get injured, or they feel like you under-performed, they cut you without hesitation. But if you clearly out-play your contract and ask for something to be done, you’re a bad guy and not a team player. It’s ridiculous. How does a guy who had one good year (no disrespect to Charles Johnson) sign a deal and make more than both me and (Giants defensive end Justin) Tuck combined? (Johnson just signed a six-year, $72 million deal with Carolina) It’s not right.
"Everyone in this business understands that is exactly what it is. Business. And just like none of us get upset when our teammates are released due to business decisions, the teams also don't get upset when something like this happens. It’s just frustrating to see how people react to one thing, and not the other. Just be fair."
So Reese is being fair. If the Giants get what they want, Umenyiora can get what he wants.
The question is, does the rest of the league think he's worth what the Giants want?
Time to get to work, Osi.