Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora's contract was voided at 4:01 p.m. ET on Thursday due to a technicality in his contract. He is now an unrestricted free agent, according to Jenny Vrentas, the Giants' beat writer for The Star-Ledger.
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Umenyiora was selected in the second round of the 2003 NFL Draft by the Giants with the No. 56 overall pick. Over the last nine seasons with the Giants, he has made 376 tackles and sacked the opposing quarterback 75 times. He has also knocked down 13 passes at the line of scrimmage.
The Giants have issues with the salary cap, which would explain why they have released some veteran players, like running back Ahmad Bradshaw and Chris Canty. He was payed $2.5 million in 2012, and played in every game throughout the season, accounting for six sacks. He slipped slightly from 2011, when he racked up nine sacks in only nine games played.
Due to the fact that Umenyiora wasn't released, he won't be free to sign with another team, despite the fact that he's not officially an unrestricted free agent, until March 12, when free agency officially begins. However, when he is able to sign on March 12, there will likely be several teams interested in adding Umenyiora as an edge-rushing defensive end. In today's passing league, the ability to rush the passer is incredibly important and there are several teams that had trouble pressuring the quarterback in 2012. Umenyiora will likely be able to sign a more lucrative contract as a free agent than he would have been able to with the Giants.
New York is looking to bounce back from a 9-7 season in which they failed to make the playoffs, losing two of their final three games of the season. They had the No. 31 overall ranked defense, struggling badly against both the run and the pass.