The Atlanta Falcons have acquired little help on the defensive side of the ball during this early period of free agency. But they have identified Osi Umenyiora as a person of interest, and are in hot pursuit of adding him to their roster.
“We’re in the process of having discussions with his representatives,” Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “There’s nothing new to report at this point. We have a solid relationship with CAA (Creative Artists Agency, Umenyiora’s agent) and our discussions are fluid and amicable.”
Umenyiora, who won two Super Bowl titles with the Giants, visited the Falcons on Wednesday and expressed his interest in playing for the NFC South champions on the Jamie and Jerome Show on 92.9 The Game on Friday.
“New York fans definitely expect a lot of you because of their history,” Umenyiora said. “The only thing I can think of that would be better than being able to win in New York would be able to win here in Atlanta.”
The Falcons desperately need a pass rusher after cutting John Abraham before the start of free agency. Umenyiora had 43 tackles and six sacks last season for the New York Giants.
The 31-year-old Umenyiora recently has had a tumultuous relationship with Giants management, especially general manager Jerry Reese after wanting a new contract following the 2010 season.
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In order to sign the Umenyiora, the Falcons must make room for him under the salary cap.
If the Umenyipra and the Falcons reach a deal, it is unlikely he will secure a contract close to the seven-year , $41.5 million pact he had with the Giants that included an extension in 2005. That market is down for pass-rushing defensive ends that are north of 30.
“So we’ll see how that plays out,” Umenyiora said. “Hopefully, it will work out in a positive direction.”