Defensive end Osi Umenyiora will not be free to sign with a new team until the league year begins on March 12th, but as of 4:01 PM EST today, his contract with the New York Giants will be voided and he will become an unrestricted free agent.
As Jenny Vrentas of The Star-Ledger reports, although just a technicality, Umenyiora's contract was previously set to void the fifth day after Super Bowl XLVII (i.e. today). He is still free to workout a deal and re-sign with the Giants at any time leading up to free agency, which he recently said is a definite possibility, but the reality of that happening is extremely unlikely.
Umenyiora had a player option for 2013, but at only a base salary of $1 million, he can easily find a better deal on the free agent market. There was never any question that the veteran wouldn't pick it up, so unrestricted free agency was inevitable.
He now joins running back Ahmad Bradshaw, linebacker Michael Boley and defensive tackle Chris Canty in the "former Giants" group.
Originally drafted in the second-round of the 2003 NFL Draft, Umenyiora has spent his entire nine-year career with the Giants. In 129 games, Osi has collected 261 tackles, 75 sacks, forced 32 fumbles, defended 13 passes and set numerous NFL and franchise records. He was also a two-time Pro Bowler, two-time All-Pro and two-time Super Bowl champion.
From all of us here at Giants 101, we say: Thank you, Chief Osi!
Update: Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News reports that although Osi's contract was voided (see: triggered), he will not officially become an unrestricted free agent until March 12th. In other words he's without a team, technically an UFA, but not actually an UFA until March 12th. Or something like that.
Also…Football, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Osi Umenyiora