NFL Free Agency: Falcons sign veteran DE Osi Umenyiora
Finally the deal goes down the Atlanta Falcons have acquired defensive-end Osi Umenyiora, formerly of the Giants to a two-year, $8.5 million contract. The contract was dealt back and forth for almost a week now and contains another $3.5 million with incentives
The Miami Dolphins were the other team that was in the mix and made him an offer but with a home Atlanta he didn’t shy away from the Falcons offer on the table or chances of winning.
Umenyiora at 31 brings the much needed push into the Falcons pass rush, after they released John Abraham earlier this month . He’s excellent fit and is the missing piece to the puzzle of the Falcons defense.
Umenyiora and Kroy Biermann are as of now the Falcons' starting ends. Osi recorded 43 tackles and six sacks last season, but struggled mightily versus the run. Umenyiora has never publicly closed the door on a Giants return but it was imminent he would not return for the 2013 season.
Eventually veteran defensive end, who played the first 10 seasons of his career with New York, had his eyes set on a new destination with Falcons, where he took a free-agent visit last week.
Osi began his tenure with the Giants as a 2003 draft pick and became a Pro Bowl player early in his career, but he saw reduced playing time in recent years as a pass-rush specialist coming off the bench. Umenyiora, has nice resume that includes 75 career sacks. He's hoping to be one of the key components on Atlanta's defense this coming season
“There was nothing better than being able to win (in the New York area)," Umenyiora said yesterday on Atlanta sports radio station 92.9 The Game. "The only thing I can think of, for myself personally, (better) than being able to win in New York would be if I was able to win here at home in Atlanta. So we’ll see how that plays out. Hopefully, it will work out in a positive direction.”
Umenyiora appreciates the assembly of talent on the Falcons, who hosted the NFC Championship Game last year, only falling to the 49ers. Umenyiora won two Super Bowl rings with the Giants, so he provides great experience and it's important to him to play for a contender in 2013.
Umenyiora is home in Atlanta and is ready to make a great impact on the Falcons. There are still a few missing pieces to place together on the defensive side of the ball that includes building up the linebacker core and adding a defensive tackle but this indeed a step in the right direction.
"This team is the most talented team that I've probably seen in my life," Umenyiora said.