The contract squabble between defensive lineman Osi Umenyiora and the Giants is the lead storyline in what has begun as an unsettled training camp for a team seeking a return to the playoffs after falling short last season.
In a nutshell, Umenyiora wants to restructure his contract for more money or be traded. For now, the Giants are saying no to both requests. The historically conservative organization finished the 2009-10 campaign 10-6, but it wasn’t good enough for a postseason invite. And it may be an even more daunting endeavor this season considering that, on paper, the Giants have lost more than they have gained.
Their top draft pick, cornerback Prince Amukamara, will be out at least two months with a broken left foot. The offensive line, with the release of veteran cornerstones center Shaun O’ Hara and guard Rich Seubert, is suspect. Additionally, productive defensive lineman Barry Cofield, who the Giants should have resigned, was scooped up by the Washington Redskins.
Same for tight end Kevin Boss. A reliable target that quarterback Eli Manning frequently sought out to move the chains, the Giants inexplicably stood pat as Boss signed with the Oakland Raiders.
The final head-scratching move was not offering Plaxico Burress an adequate deal. Burress was worth taking a risk on with a one-year contract. He practically begged the Giants to come back.
The departure of Boss and no Burress leaves the Giants highly vulnerable in the red zone. Their biggest receiver in the unit’s regular rotation, the capable Hakeem Nicks, is barely 6-feet in a league where the most dominant best pass catchers are 6-3 and taller. Burress is 6-5.
It was reported that Manning was consulted on Burress’s possible return and did not enthusiastically support the idea. If this is accurate, Manning’s input should’ve had minimal weight. He has not earned the level of juice his older brother Peyton commands with the Indianapolis Colts. And while very good, the younger Manning is arguably not in the top 10 at his position.
Furthermore, Burress was instrumental in helping transform Manning into a Super Bowl QB, and he has not been the same since Burress’s exit. The Giants, a notoriously poor team in the second half of seasons during head coach Tom Coughlin’s tenure, have a brutal final eight games in the upcoming season, which could be a long one for them.