NFL teams will spend the next 24 hours polishing off their draft boards and rehearsing as many scenarios as possible ahead of Thursday’s NFL Draft.
But for teams looking for an instant upgrade in the pass rushing department, one proven veteran lineman could provide a sure-fire source of sacks.
New York Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora is heading into the final year of his contract and has yet to receive an extension. And rather than play out the season, he believes the Giants would be better suited to deal him during the draft.
“Would I want to (stay)? I think it would be ideal,” Umenyiora The Newark Star-Ledger Wednesday during an NFL “Play 60” promotional event in New York. “I think I would if things could be worked out. But is that going to happen? I really don’t think so.”
The 30-year-old two-time All-Pro has played all eight years of his NFL career in New York and remains one of the league’s most feared edge rushers. Despite playing only nine regular season games last year, Umenyiora still managed nine sacks, 25 tackles and a pair of forced fumbles. He added another 3 1/2 sacks on New York’s Super Bowl run.
Umenyiora has said he does not want to play out the final year of his seven-year contract without a raise. He is slated to make just under $4 million for the season. And while the Giants have told him they are open to an extension, Umenyiora realizes he likely is not the top priority with fellow linemen Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck and wide receivers Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks all due for extensions in the coming seasons.
“If they’re going to get anything back in return for me, I think now would be the time to do it,” Umenyiora told ESPN Radio’s Colin Cowherd. “If they’re going to do that, there would be no better time to do it than now.”
A change of scenery may do Umenyiora some good as he has struggled at times to find his role alongside Pierre-Paul and Tuck, who combined for 31 1/2 sacks and 123 tackles last season. Umenyiora told reporters Wednesday that he believes the Giants have pigeon-holed him as a pass rusher who cannot defend the run.
As Umenyiora told Cowherd, he plans to catch every minute of the 2012 draft, just in case his name pops up on the screen.