After 10 seasons, 75 sacks, 32 forced fumbles, two Pro Bowl appearances, two All-Pro honors, and two Super Bowl championships, Osi Umenyiora has left the New York Giants.
Umenyiora is one of the best pass rushers “Big Blue” has ever had, but he was also one of the most difficult to keep happy. Time and time again contract disputes over money and years became a distraction for the Giants. Most notably, after the 2010 season Umenyiora broke the record for most forced fumbles in a season with 10 and wanted a restructured deal in return. It took over a year to get his wish, but Umenyiora was finally a happy camper for the 2012 season.
Unfortunately for Umenyiora, 2012 ended up being one of his worst seasons with just six sacks. But those six sacks came with reduced playing time as the Giants labeled Umenyiora as just a pass rushing specialist at this point in his career. With the Giants talented, young, deep defensive line it’s easy to see why that makes sense. The Giants aren’t the right fit for Umenyiora, which is why the break up between the two is now official.
The Atlanta Falcons signed Umenyiora to a two-year deal worth $8.5 million, with $5 million dollars guaranteed. The deal could reach up to $12 million, so Umenyiora will have that motivation. The Falcons had cut defensive end John Abraham earlier this offseason, but get a younger Umenyiora in return. He has been excited about the possibility of playing with the Falcons over the last few days, and it’s because he fits right in. It’s safe to assume that the Falcons will give Umenyiora the playing time he wants, which was a major point of discussion while he was on the market.
Umenyiora is a winner who will provide ideal leadership to a team that is poised to make a Super Bowl run. The Falcons now add more experience to their team after getting tight end Tony Gonzalez to stay around for at least another season.
The Atlanta Falcons may not be receiving as much attention as the San Francisco 49ers or Seattle Seahawks, but they’ve had a successful offseason that shouldn’t go overlooked.