Great news Saturday that Mathias Kiwanuka can resume his football career following the serious neck injury that cost him most of the 2010 season. Question is, will Kiwanuka resume his football career as a member of the New York Giants, or will he be doing it in another uniform?
Amidst all the good feelings generated by the news that Kiwanuk's career is not over, let's not forget one very important thing. Kiwanuka is a free agent, and re-signing him could be dicey.
General Manager Jerry Reese has previously said that if Kiwanuka were healthy enough to resume his career, the Giants would not be inclined to offer him a long-term contract. At the end of the season Reese, in fact, was non-committal about bringing Kiwanuka back at all.
"Do we offer him a one year deal so that he can re-establish his value or do we go in a different direction? We'll see," Reese said back in January.
Let's face it, Kiwanuka is a versatile defensive end/linebacker who can rush the passer and play the run, and he will be just 28 years old during the 2011 season. He had four sacks and 11 tackles in three games last season before the injury, looking like he was en route to becoming a star.
If his medical records check out and teams are convinced that Kiwanuka really can play without high risk of re-injury, you know someone out there will offer him more than a one-year deal.
The St. Louis Rams? Steve Spagnuolo certainly knows what kind of athlete Kiwanuka is, and what kind of player he can be. The New York Jets? I have thought for years that Kiwanuka is a perfect 3-4 outside linebacker, and it just so happens the Jets need some help at that spot. The Denver Broncos? New coach John Fox is switching from 3-4 to 4-3, which means he will need some new players.
Those are the ones that come to mind immediately. Point is, the Giants are going to face some serious competition for Kiwanuka's services.
So, healthy or not, don't count on seeing him in a Giants uniform in 2011. If, of course, there is a 2011 season.