By Paul Dottino
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There’s clearly been a bit of a thawing in the icy contract dispute between the Giants and Osi Umenyiora. Is it enough to get him back on the field? Not yet, although “creativity” can go a long way into making this once-unthinkable possibility come to fruition.
The side exchanged proposals Friday and, while neither side accepted the others’, the fact that each party took the time to craft a potential solution means there remains a mutual desire to have Umenyiora play for the Giants this season. The player’s camp hoped to shorten the length of his contact by one year so he could become a free agent before the 2012 season. The team, however, offered to sweeten this year’s salary with incentives that would kick in only if Umenyiora compiles NFL defensive player of the year-type statistics.
No new talks have been scheduled, but Umenyiora’s agent, Tony Agnone told WFAN’s Steve Somers late Friday regarding his communication with the Giants: “We dialog all the time. We’re just talking back and forth. Nothing exciting, unfortunately, to give you.” So the pipeline apparently has not been closed, just a few days after both sides took a hard-line stance, then had a momentary connection – only to have things cool down and then fire up again.
And what of the report that Umenyiora may decide to have surgery on his injured knee? “I don’t know the answer to that,” Agnone said, explaining he’d defer that decision to the Giants’ doctors and added, “No, that would not help us, I can tell you that” regarding the lineman’s trade value.
A source with knowledge of the talks between the parties wasn’t sure how many more conversations it would take to come to a conclusion, suggesting, “It appears it will go on for a while.”
Hmmm, a while? It sounds like the Giants, who recently gave Agnone a few days to shop his player for a No. 1 pick, aren’t in a rush to lower their asking price in order to quickly make a trade. So does this mean Umenyiora has played his last snap for the Giants – as was believed last week? “(I) don’t know what’s going to happen,” said the source.
In the meantime, you can expect Umenyiora to continue attending meetings and watching practices from the stationary bike (which, to this point, has prevented him from being fined) – and his presence bodes well for a possible solution. The situation, however, could get stickier should the Giants hand out a suspension, using the “conduct detrimental to the team” hammer – something the team’s been reluctant to do to this point.
NOTES: First-round pick Prince Amukamara, whose holdout cost him to miss the first five practices of camp, took a few snaps at right corner with the third-team defense. … WRs Domenik Hixon (knee) and Devin Thomas (finger) returned to practice.
For updates from camp, follow @GiantsWFAN on Twitter.
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