NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mathias Kiwanuka took one for the team this offseason.

The nine-year veteran, who signed a four-year, $21.75 million contract in 2012, took a pay cut to give the Giants more payroll flexibility.

The defensive end’s base salary went down from $4.375 million to $1.5 million.

The 31-year-old defensive end did what he had to do to remain a member of the Giants, but he made it known on Tuesday that he wasn’t pleased about taking the cut.

“If we are going to be playing on these contracts, make them contracts,” Kiwanuka told The Star-Ledger on Tuesday. “Either that or everyone sign a one-year deal every year and we’ll do it that way. It’s not fair to be locked in somewhere and have that place say that we’ve decided not to honor the rest of the deal. I don’t think it is a contract by definition if one side can opt out of it at any point and the other has no recourse.”

Kiwanuka admitted that he was “very angry and very upset” for a period of time this offseason, but he maintains that he’s put it past him and is ready to help the Giants return to the playoffs.

But the frustration clearly remains.

“Yeah, I’m a team player, but there is a point,” the former first-round pick told the newspaper. “…I don’t think it’s right. I think that there are plenty of situations where players outperform their contracts and they’re bashed media-relations wise or fan-wise for asking for more money. So when two sides agree to a contract and one side decides they’re not going to live up to it, it’s disappointing.

“You want to expect that that is the deal, but you’re naive if you think that is what is going to happen. That’s the reality of the situation. That is the reality of the league. I don’t agree with it at all, but these are the rules that we agreed upon. So we could either play or watch.”

Kiwanuka played in all 16 games for Big Blue last season. He recorded 41 combined tackles, six sacks and two forced fumbles.

“It’s something that is bargained collectively, and for me — as an individual — you only have one action or recourse, and that is to withhold your services and hold out,” Kiwanuka told The Star-Ledger. “There is no market for you to shop your skills around. That is the part that is very unfair to players. We’ve come a long way. I can’t imagine playing in the league without free agency, there has been progress.

“It is more fair than it has been in the past, but that doesn’t mean it’s fair or equal now.”

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