The Atlanta Falcons finally officially closed the deal for New York Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora, coming to terms on a 2-year, $8.5 million deal with $5 million guaranteed.
The deal brings Umenyiora, who had twenty-seven tackles, six sacks and two forced fumbles, closer to home and gives the thirty-one year old the opportunity to play for one of the best NFC teams, which is something he experienced for the majority of his time with the Giants.
Umenyiora has some big shoes to fill on the field for the Falcons, as he must replace John Abraham, who led the team’s defensive line for the past seven years before being released this offseason. As if having to be the man that makes fans forget about Abraham was bad enough, Umenyiora must also deal with the fact that the team does not exactly bolster other high-quality pass rushers, as it appears that Osi’s complement at end will be veteran Kroy Biermann, who has 16.5 career sacks over five seasons.
The Umenyiora signing may prove to follow the path of John Abraham or Ray Edwards, the last two big-name defensive ends the team signed through free agency. On the positive side lays Abraham, an established player that stepped into the Georgia Dome back in 2006 and made opposing quarterbacks nervous for the entirety of his tenure with the team. On the other hand lays Edwards, who used his eight sack season in 2010 that came in part due to team’s double-teaming teammate Jared Allen to land a big pay-day only to sink like a lead zeppelin in Atlanta. Edwards was cut during the 2012 season due to behavior that was detrimental to the team. Here’s a comparison of all three players in their last seasons before playing for the Falcons:
Ultimately, I like the move to sign Osi Umenyiora. Atlanta desperately needed a pass rusher for 2013 with the departure of Abraham, and it became fairly obvious that Umenyiora was the most talented and experienced DE that was available for the Falcons to swoop in and sign. Although the signing of Umenyiora definitely helps the Falcons, the team still needs another defensive end; all signs point to the team opting to use one of their eleven draft picks on another end come April.
The signing of Umenyiora just adds to what has been a very busy offseason for the Atlanta Falcons. In case you have been out of the loop since the team was bounced out of the playoffs by the 49ers, here’s a rundown of some of the important moves that you may missed:
March 1: Team opts to release RB Michael Turner, DE John Abraham, and CB Dunta Robinson
March 9: Team re-signs OG Garrett Reynolds
March 12: Team re-signs LT Sam Baker
March 13: Tony Gonzalez announces he will return for 2013; later signs a 2-year, $14 million deal
March 14: Rams RB Steven Jackson signs a 3-year, $12 million deal with the Falcons
There is still close to a month left before the 2013 NFL Draft, so keep an eye out for the Falcons to try and snag a couple more free agents before they are officially put on the clock.