Dec 22, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) is sacked by New York Giants defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka (94) during the first quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Another Giant "Down": Mathias Kiwanuka Feeling Blue

Mathias Kiwanuka is feeling a little blue about green, Giants Nation.

This doesn’t mean that Kiwi is hating the Eagles, although we’re sure he does. More so… it’s about the other green. You know the type. It’s the exact kind of green you lay down to see the New York Football Giants play their games at the handsome new Meadowlands. Sometimes against those damn “Águilas Verdes”. Stupid birds.

This suggests that Mathias Kiwanuka is unhappy about money. Why? Let’s take a look at what CBS is reporting in this story from Ryan Wilson: Giants LB Mathias Kiwanuka calls NFL contracts ‘unfair to players’

Back in March, Giants linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka agreed to reduce his 2014 salary from $4.4 million to $1.5 million, partly because his wife was expecting a baby in April, and he couldn’t leave the area if the team released him and he signed elsewhere. On Tuesday, Kiwanuka admitted that he was “very angry and upset” at the time, and called NFL contracts “unfair to players.”

Here are some of the fodder Mathias quotes that Wilson used:

“I don’t think it’s right,” he said. “I think that there are plenty of situations where players out-perform their contracts and they’re bashed media-relations wise or fan-wise for asking for more money, so when two sides agree to a contract and one side decides they’re not going to live up to it, it’s disappointing…”

“It’s something that is bargained collectively and for me, as an individual, you only have one action or recourse and that is to withhold your services and hold out,” Kiwanuka said. “There is no market for you to shop your skills around. That is the part that is very unfair to players. We’ve come a long way, I can’t imagine playing in the league without free agency, there has been progress. It is more fair than it has been in the past but that doesn’t mean it’s fair or equal now.”

Minus the hyperbole, Kiwanuka does appear disgruntled. Outside of his words under the microscope, or the article’s stance on his emotional level about his personal finances, Mathias Kiwanuka has been a productive member of the Giants family. A man that has been armored in Giant BLUE for 109 games — since 2006, wherein he was drafted in the SUPER BOWL spot of 32. A sign of things to come as Mathias Kiwanuka has two GIANT SUPER BOWL rings.

Does Kiwi deserve to be paid. Morally? Yes. Subjectively? Yes. Realistically? Let’s look at some recent stats from Pro Football Focus:

SUPER SEASON 2011: (his last productive season) Kiwanuka rated among top hybrid OLB run stuffers in the NFL with a +10.7 rating in run D (5th best mark at the position). In addition, he accumulated 68 solo tackles (13th) and 42 stops directly resulting in a failed offensive play (10th). 

SUPER FORGETTABLE 2013: Operating exclusively as 4-3 defensive end, Kiwanuka posted a historically poor campaign, in which his 7 sacks paint anything but the clear picture: -28.1 overall PFF grade (3rd worst), -19.3 pass rush (worst), -7.9 run D (3rd worst). He also committed seven penalties (6th worst). 

There’s no denying that Mathias has put together a great resume of regular season accolades. Look at the picture, the hit on Stafford. Bam! Heck Jints fans, watch the sack GIF:

Mathias Kiwanuka

Credit: NFL Game Rewind (December 22nd 2013)

How about production in the playoffs? Kiwi’s had his moments, albeit few and far between. San Francisco 49ers fans will remember this particular play well, and so does Alex Smith:

Giants at 49ers

Credit: box score

Mathias Kiwanuka

Credit: NFL Game Rewind (January 22nd 2012)

There are other stats that don’t need GIF’s. Such as the fact that Kiwi has as many Super Bowl tackles as I do — ZERO. While that idea is quaint, I come nowhere near his outstanding NFL total of 281.

After 8 NFL seasons and some incredible personal achievements, Mathias Kiwanuka may not be a sack master in legendary numbers — 36 of them to be exact — but he certainly has been a GIANT piece to the winning equation in New York. Two rings in less than one decade isn’t too shabby.

Mathias came to New York as a 23-year old kid. Now he’s a 31-year old man that has experienced everything the NFL has to offer from a New York Football Giants perspective. But has he been paid outside of millions of dollars and SUPER BOWL rings? Mathias Kiwanuka doesn’t think so in those words “used”. What do you think Big Blue Nation — Should Kiwi’s wallet be feeling blue or filled with green?


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