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In Defense Of Osi Umenyiora: Justin Tuck, Mathias Kiwanuka Lobby For Teammate

Osi Umenyiora and the New York Giants have been squabbling about Umenyiora's contract for years. Now, a pair of Umenyiora's long-time defensive teammates have taken his side, agreeing that the seven-year, $41.3-million contract the defensive end will finish this season makes him underpaid.

Mathias Kiwanuka just signed an extension this offseason that brings his contract to four years worth $21.75 million, with nearly $11 million guaranteed. Kiwanuka, a linebacker/defensive end, said Umenyiora has been "in a bad deal for years now."

At the time of Kiwanuka's deal Umenyiora expressed happiness for Kiwanuka but frustration for his own situation.

"Anybody who looks at the situation would say, 'Well, this should've been taken care of a long time ago.' For whatever reason it hasn't so I understand his frustration. I know that it wasn't a slight at me. I know he was just trying to get his point across."

Giants defensive captain Justin Tuck also took Umenyiora's side today.

"It's hard," Tuck said. "He's signed a contract and I believe in abiding by that contract, but also I think he's outplayed that contract in today's market. And how some of these defensive ends are getting paid lots of money, I think he deserves to get paid."

The Giants and Umenyiora have been disagreeing about Umenyiora's worth for years. Despite the lobbying of his teammates, it would seem a surprise right now if Umenyiora were to remain a Giant past the coming season -- when his contract expires.