There was some uncertainty regarding Osi Umenyiora’s future with the Atlanta Falcons, as the 32-year-old defensive end is set to make $3 million next season. While that’s actually a decent price, there was plenty of speculation that the Falcons would look to release him and replace him with a younger, more dynamic pass rusher. Umenyiora can still put down the quarterback and had 7.5 sacks last season, but he’s a declining player and doesn’t put pressure on the QB like he used to.
That said, he was easily their best pass rusher last season, and the Falcons have decided that he’s worth paying $3 million in 2014. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s D. Orlando Ledbetter, the Falcons have decided to keep Umenyiora around for his contract year and will not try to get him to take a paycut or restructure of any sort. It ensures that their most productive end will stick around for at least one other season, but I certainly wouldn’t rule out the chances of the Falcons pulling Khalil Mack or Jadeveon Clowney as a DE if one of them falls to six. That would allow the Falcons to move either Umenyiora or Kroy Biermann into more of a sub-package role, and then Mack or Clowney would have an even more critical role in 2015, assuming the Falcons don’t bring Umenyiora back.
Speaking of Biermann, Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff also stated that their other starting DE will stay for the 2014 season and will not have his contract restructured. This, of course, definitely does not come as a surprise.