After giving Osi and his agent all of about 36 hours to find a team interested, the Giants withdrew their offer to allow the agent to seek a trade for Osi. This makes it seem like it was just a ploy all along for the Giants to show Osi that his value was not as high as he thinks, especially now when teams are cramped by a slightly lower salary cap than the last capped year in 2009. Still, I think some team would have come up with some creative deal to trade for Osi and then the Giants would have been in a real bind. Giants had demanded a # 1 pick, but suppose a team offered a 2 and a 4. Or a starting player and a 3. If they had to say no to that, they really could have been called liars by Osi + agent.
On the one hand, I understand the Giants position - they probably did not say exactly what Osi said they did, and Osi kind of interpreted or heard what he wanted to hear. Even if the Giants made a loose promise or best effort to renegotiate, nobody could have anticipated the salary cap situation that they found themselves in because of the new CBA. They may have planned to give him a new contract, but found changed business conditions when the time came.
Osi's perspective is somewhat understandable, but flawed. His email rant to the Associated Press, where he said the team has all the power to cut a player but the player has to live by the contract is correct. That's life. To whine about this now, nanoseconds after a new CBA was negotiated and signed, reaffirming the state of business in the NFL with its non-guaranteed contract is like complaining to God that that darned sun keeps coming up in the east everyday. Live with it.
Osi is also complaining that he is making only around $4M this year and he has outplayed his contract, especially compared to the huge deal that the Panthers gave to their DE Johnson (who is he?). Well, he forgets that he also received a big bonus up front and he should not just look at the 2011 base salary. Furthermore, because one stupid team overpays for one player doesn't mean that he is entitled to the same money. The biggest flaw in Osi's argument that he has outplayed his contract, is that this fact may be true only for 2010. Let's not forget that he missed the entire 2008 season with a knee injury and that he had a miserable year in 2009 where he actually lost his starting job. That makes his claim about outplaying his contract a little misleading. I think Osi is a very talented pass rusher, but he is a fairly one-dimensional player and should not get paid like one of the top five DEs in football.
Having said all of that, the Giants should try to keep Osi on the team and make him a happy, productive player. I think part of Osi's complaint and frustration is that he is very proud, wants to be thought of as "the best" and wants his ego stroked through a new contract. The Giants should try to find a compromise to make all parties happy and not threaten to start a revolt among the other players who may demand more money if they hold out. I think that's called a win-win.
Ideas for compromises:
1. Don't rip up the current contract, but give Osi an extension to the contract starting in 2013. This way, the Giants are not throwing out his current contract and are not creating a precedent, encouraging players who perceive themselves as underpaid to become squeaky wheels in order to get some oil. This shows Osi some love, does not break the current salary cap and does not give players license to revolt.
2. If they wanted to be bold, they could even renegotiate by giving him a new contract at the end of 2011, going into the 2012 season. The same benefits accrue to both side as above and Osi gets money earlier.
3. If Osi is unwilling to do that, if he feels the relationship with the Giants is so fractured, they can instead promise to cut him after 2011. That way they will get a highly motivated player for 2011 and he will be able to negotiate at market value with no restrictions as a FA for the 2012 season. I don't recommend this, because it is too risky for the Giants.
4. Make the 2012 contract dollars guaranteed and/or give him a big roster bonus for March 2012 as a prelude to renegotiating at that time. That way, Osi is guaranteed either to get a pile of cash and a new contract from the Giants, or he will be cut loose and negotiate as a FA.
Big picture, the Giants reputation has taken a hit and they should try to repair it and keep the best players on the team.