In the pass-happy NFL, a team lives and dies by two things: its own quarterback position and its ability to get to the other team’s quarterback. That’s why it’s so rare to find a pass rusher available on the market — even for a hefty trade price — like the New York Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora. Consequently, it’s not surprising to hear that five teams are officially in on him.
Whether or not the Giants will receive their first-round pick bounty on him, the team should expect something of a decent haul. Despite his injury troubles, the drama and the fact that he’s 29 years old wanting a major contract, Umenyiora represents the type of gamble that can put a team over the top. He’s had 52 sacks in the last five seasons he’s played and had 11.5 last year. If not for the injury in 2008, who knows how many more he would have.
The fact is that Umenyiora’s moves and instincts are a rare commodity and a team is going to have to stomach the risk to receive the payoff. Five teams are reportedly interested in the defensive end — the Ravens, Chargers, Seahawks, Rams and Broncos. Every single one of those teams would improve by adding such an anchor on the edge, but everyone besides the Ravens would especially improve by instantly adding the best pass rushing option on the team.
For a team that runs the 4-3 with some money to spend, Umenyiora is the kind of gamble you have to roll the dice with, simply because that kind of talent doesn’t come along. You might grit your teeth while signing the contract extension, but that’s the price of success in the NFL — like it or not.