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Mathias Kiwanuka To Return To Giants -- What Does That Mean For Osi Umenyiora?

You probably know by now that Mathias Kiwanuka is returning to the New York Giants, thanks to the outstanding insvestigative work of new Twitter correspondent Justin Tuck, who tweeted the news by saying "Kiwi is returning to the big blue. Yes sir."

First and foremost, that is excellent news. Kiwanuka suffered a herniated disc in his neck four games into last season that left his career in doubt. Terms of the deal have not been announced, but you have to to think it is along the lines of the one-year deal general manager Jerry Reese said he would be willing to extend to Kiwanuka on a "prove you are healthy" basis.

Kiwanuka, a five-year veteran who is still just 28, looked like the Giants most dominating defensive player through four games last season, registering four sacks. He has 23.5 sacks for hsi career, with a high of eight in 2008. His ability to move around the line, and play standing up at times, gave defensive coordinator Perry Fewell immense flexibility that the Giants missed while he was gone.

With Kiwanuka back in the fold, you have to wonder what that means for disgruntled defensive end Osi Umenyiora.

Speculation has been that Umenyiora, unhappy with the six-year contract he signed that has two years remaining, will be a holdout when the Giants open training camp on Friday.

The return of Kiwanuka gives the Giants some leverage in their dealings with Umenyiora, and protection if they end up deciding to move on without him. With Tuck, Kiwanuka and last year's first-round pick Jason Pierre-Paul, the Giants have three quality defensive ends even without Umenyiora.

Thus, while I am certain they would like to have Umenyiora -- pass-rushing defensive ends who can total 11.5 sacks and 10 forced fumbles don't grow on trees -- Kiwanuka's presence lessens their urgency to do so. And softens the blow if they end up trading or releasing Umenyiora.