New York Giants Rumors: Osi Umenyiora Return On The Horizon?


New York Giants Rumors: Could Osi Umenyiora Return To Big Blue?

The New York Giants changes on the defensive side of the ball have taken them back into the past, as they brought back Steve Spagnuolo to be their defensive coordinator. Spagnuolo was the DC for the Giants during their first Super Bowl win over the New England Patriots. Could their continued reshaping of the defense take them back to in time once again and bring back former defensive end and All-Pro Osi Umenyiora?

There has been chatter recently that Umenyiora is hoping to come back to the Giants after spending the past two seasons with the Atlanta Falcons. With the Giants, Umenyiora was one of the most vaunted pass rushers in the NFL, racking up 75 sacks in nine seasons with Big Blue, including four of nine or more. He was a master at the strip sack, forcing 35 fumbles in his Giants tenure.

Since leaving the Giants Umenyiora has seen his playing time diminish. In his first season with the Falcons, he showed that he could still be the pass rusher he was with the Giants. He appeared in all 16 games, starting 13 of them, picking up 7.5 sacks and playing nearly 70 percent of the Falcons’ defensive snaps that season. In 2014 things changed, as Umenyiora registered only 2.5 sacks, playing 338 snaps which was only 31.2 percent of the Falcons snaps.

The argument could be made that Umenyiora’s effectiveness is beginning to wane, as he just wrapped up his 11th season in the NFL and just turned 33 years old. But it is hard to pinpoint that as the reason why, as his playing time fell off drastically as the Falcons struggled for the second consecutive season.

It was definitely a surprise to Umenyiora how things turned out last season, and he is not ready to hang it up following such a disappointment.

"“Zero plans to retire at this moment. I feel like I can still play, No. 1. The way things ended last year, I’m just not going to end my career like that. That’s not going to happen. I feel like when put in the right situation and given the opportunity to play, I would still be able to help somebody. I want to end the way it’s supposed to end.” -Osi Umenyiora to ESPN"

Oct 5, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) is sacked by Atlanta Falcons defensive end Osi Umenyiora (50) during the game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Could the Giants be interested in bringing back their former All-Pro defensive end? The Giants have a big need at defensive end, even more for a pass rusher, especially after releasing longtime Giant Mathias Kiwanuka Tuesday. His age could pose a problem, but the need is there for the Giants, and Umenyiora would love nothing more than to end his career as a Giant.

"“It was nearly a third of my life that I was there in New York, and I did a lot of good things there. As a team, we won some Super Bowls. I was able to go to a couple of Pro Bowls and be like an All-Pro player over there. Unless I’m able to do that somewhere else — which I don’t know how like that is — then it would only make sense, whenever it is I retire. I’m not going to play another 10 years. I’m not going to play another three years. Whenever it is that I retire, I think it would only make sense for me to do that as a Giant.” – Osi Umenyiora"

While the need is there for the Giants, is Umenyiora someone they would actually give a prominent role on their defense to? For starters, he is older than Kiwanuka, a player they just released. Of course he would cost less, and has been less of an injury concern recently, but signing players that old hasn’t been the course of attack in free agency for the Giants recently.

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While it would be a good story for the Giants to bring back Umenyiora, there are serious questions as to if he would fit into their plans. It would look nice having Umenyiora bookend his former teammate Jason Pierre-Paul, who is in contract negotiations of his own with the Giants, with Spagnuolo calling the shots again. If the Giants are looking to rebuild their glory days from their most recent Super Bowls, maybe they should call Michael Strahan to see if he is interested in returning as well.

Speaking of Strahan, there are rumors swirling as well that Umenyiora could join him in the media world, as he supposedly has a media opportunity in his homeland of England. If the market is quiet for Umenyiora, which has a high chance of happening taking into account his age, he could take that media deal.

In the end, Umenyiora will more than likely retire a Giant, it will just be a matter of if it is a ceremonial thing, or as a player riding off into the sunset after a season.

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