The Atlanta Falcons have a few major needs that they will need to address this offseason in order to become a deeper, more well-rounded team, as they are far too top-heavy. That lack of a balanced roster reared its ugly head this past season when they could not withstand injuries to the likes of Julio Jones, Sean Weatherspoon, and Roddy White, so I’m sure Thomas Dimitroff and the Falcons offense are going to go at it harder than ever in an effort to put the Falcons back into Super Bowl contention.
One of their needs this offseason will be at defensive end, and it will be interesting to see if they decide to keep Osi Umenyiora, who is an impending free agent this offseason. Umenyiora told ESPN NFL Nation’s Vaughn McClure that he would like to stay with the Falcons next season, “I would love to stay, and I think I am. But you really never know what’s going to happen.”
He is set to count $3.5 million against the cap next season, and he wouldn’t exactly be the youngest or cheapest option for the Falcons at DE. The Falcons are very willing to cut veterans and save money, and I don’t think the releases of Asante Samuel and Stephen Nicholas are going to be the only major cuts of the offseason for this team.
That said, Umenyiora was the team’s most productive pass rusher with 7.5 sacks last season, and he could be great in a decreased role. Of course, $3.5 million is usually too much for a “bit” player- even at DE- especially if they are 32. He’s still a relatively productive player, but he’s also declining and didn’t consistently put pressure on the QB last year. While he had solid sack totals, he went missing during stretches, and the Falcons will likely put even more of an emphasis on consistent pressure going forward.