One of the New York Giants' best moves before their 2011 Super Bowl season was one of their quietest. They re-signed versatile pass rusher Mathias Kiwanuka to a low-cost, two-year deal despite the career-threatening neck injury he suffered in 2010.
One year later, the Giants have rewarded Kiwanuka with a contract extension. Once again, they did it without anyone noticing.
Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News noticed in the NFL Players Association contract database Friday that Kiwanuka had a new contract that lasts until 2015. NFL Network's Kimberly Jones confirmed the deal, and the Giantslater announced it, although they didn't reveal terms.
The database indicates that Kiwanuka's base salary dropped from $4 million to $950,000 in 2012. He is now scheduled to make $2.95 million in 2013, $4.375 million in 2014 and $4.775 million in 2015. Up-front money and bonus information is unavailable, but look for Kiwanuka to have received a big bonus to sign the contract.
Kiwanuka really is the prototypical Giant. He's massive, he's intelligent, and he can rush the passer from a variety of positions. He had just 3.5 sacks in 2011 while playing mostly linebacker, but he had a great season stuffing the run with 84 tackles.
The Giants have known what players to let go of for the most part in recent years, like Kevin Boss and Steve Smith. They also have known what players to reward, and Kiwanuka is a keeper.
Osi Umenyiora, meanwhile, will have to wait. Jones reports Kiwanuka's contract won't have any effect on Umenyiora, who will be paid $3.975 million next season on his current deal.
"No idea what it means, but we will see," Umenyiora wrote in an email to The Associated Press. "I thought it was a good, smart decision by the Giants."