New York Giants  

 

Umenyiora belongs somewhere in 'The Top 100'

There are bound to be snubs with any top 100 list. It's the nature of the endeavor. The one name that has caught my attention through the unveiling of elite players in "The Top 100: Best of 2011" the past few weeks is Osi Umenyiora.

He was not included in No. 100-21, and at this point it seems fair to assume that Umenyiora isn't going to be in the top 20, either. Does that strike anyone else as perhaps odd?

Umenyiora fires back at McCoy
Osi Umenyiora responded to LeSean McCoy's Twitter jabs, telling The New York Times: "He doesn't have to block me. ... If you have something to say, say it man to man. You can't be a Twitter gangster." More ...

Umenyiora is productive and clearly a dominant pass rusher when he is healthy. He leaves something to be desired against the run, sure, but he can be a game-changing defensive end. How about last season -- with double-digit sack totals and an NFL record 10 forced fumbles?

He helped key the Giants' Super Bowl run and is good for 10-plus sacks at least every other season. His down years -- 2008 (out all season on injured reserve) and 2009 (7 sacks, still recovering from knee surgery) were primarily health-related. Last year, despite a hip problem that could have cost him the season, he responded with a monster output.

Yes, there have been clashes with management, but that's not so unusual in this day and age. Some I've spoken to about this believe Umenyiora may have been snubbed at least due to the fact he might not be incredibly popular with his peers. The release of Umenyiora's affidavit in the Brady v. NFL case prompted an almost immediate Twitter-lashing from Eagles running back LeSean McCoy, which might hint at some unpopularity.

The Giants are going to be in a tricky spot with the Pro Bowl end whenever the lockout ends. Sources said Umenyiora very much wants to get a contract that would place him among the top five defensive linemen in the game, or to be dealt to a team that will do so.

The Giants' brass has heard all of this before ... and never budged. My hunch is they try to put a financial "band-aid" on the situation by offering a bump in Umenyiora's roughly $3.9 million in total 2011 compensation. But I don't suspect a huge, new deal with $40 million guaranteed from the Giants is a waiting just on the other side of this lockout rainbow.

With two years remaining on his deal, Umenyiora may not have an abundance of leverage beyond the proverbial holdout card. It will make for interesting reading whenever we get back to the business of football.

Follow Jason La Canfora on Twitter @JasonLaCanfora

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