Potential New York Jets Free Agent: Osi Umenyiora


December 3, 2012; Landover, MD, USA; New York Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora (72) talks with Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Last week, a report came out that Giants’ defensive end Osi Umenyiora’s contract has been voided, thus he will be a free agent when the free agency period opens in March.  He has said that he would be interested in playing for the Jets.  Take a look at what he had to say about it:

“Rex Ryan, when I was coming out of college, he was with Baltimore at the time. He came down to work me out at Troy, he came to Atlanta, just me and him,” Umenyiora told The Post. “We had a pretty good time out there so I’ve always enjoyed him as a coach and as a person. That might be a good fit.”

Now that it looks to be an official situation, the question becomes, would Osi actually be a good fit for the New York Jets? Let’s talk about it.

Any fan of football, especially here in the New York area, is aware of the pass rushing prowess of Osi Umenyiora. Over his 10 year career, including a 2008 season that he missed due to injury, he has totalled 75 sacks. He had a three year period in his career where he recorded 33.5 sacks. He has been a dominant pass rusher in this league, which is something the Jets have sorely lacked for quite a long time. Imagine what Rex’s defense would look like with a dominant pass rush. It would be nearly unbeatable.

But there is another side.

First of all, Osi has spent his career in the 4-3 defense, with his hand in the dirt, playing the three technique. This is how he has made his name as a pass rusher, as opposed to being a standup pass rusher. Even though the Jets have stopped playing exclusively the 3-4, and have incorporated the 4-3, the Jets are fairly well set with down defensive linemen. Coples, Wilkerson, Ellis, and DeVito if they bring him back, have the market cornered on hand in the dirt positions. The Jets are in more in the market for a standup pass rusher, which is not really Osi’s skill set.

The numbers also bare a drop off in Osi’s play, which I will talk about on the next page.

December 3, 2012; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) throws a pass while being hit by New York Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora (72) at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

The peak of Osi Umenyiora’s career was from the year 2005-2007, when he posted sack totals of 14.5, 6, and 13 respectively, for a total of 33.5. He certainly was one of the top pass rushers in the game at that point. Then, he missed the entire 2008 due to injury. He has not been the same player since returning, posting a sack total of over 10 only once in the four years since he has been back. It took him four years to put up the 33.5 sacks that he put up in the three years prior to the injury.

No, these totals aren’t bad, but remember, he is also 31 years old. He has played for 10 years, he is clearly on the other side of the mountain, as they say. This is the other side of his career, he is not going to get better, he will get worse and slower.

Although he was on the field for over 600 snaps in 2012, he graded out quite poorly, with an overall grade of 0.7. He was also outside the top 20 in pass rushing efficiency, with a pass rush rating of 8.6. In comparison, players that took part in many more pass rush snaps than Umenyiora, such as John Abraham, had higher ratings than Osi. Abraham’s rating in the pass rush was 10.7, for example. Cameron Wake led all defensive ends with a 12.9 rating.

So, should the Jets look into a pretty good pass rusher, that has spent his career with his hand in the dirt, and has not been the same player since an injury? If he were younger I would find it a better idea. But being that this player is 31 years old, my feeling is that the Jets should go elsewhere here, via draft or younger players in free agency.