After 10 seasons, two Super Bowl titles, two Pro Bowls and 75 regular-season sacks with the New York Giants, Osi Umenyiora has found a new home.
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Well, a new team, that is.
The Atlanta-area resident and former Troy University defensive end has agreed to a deal with the Atlanta Falcons for two years and $8.5 million, with the potential to reach $12.25 million, a person informed of the talks between the sides told USA TODAY Sports.
The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the contract hasn’t been finalized and signed, said Umenyiora will receive $5 million in the first year.
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The 31-year-old Umenyiora had been angling for a new contract with the Giants for the past few seasons. He originally signed a six-year extension through the 2012 season. Umenyiora has said, when he signed that deal, he believed he was signing for six years total, not seven. He was already signed through the 2006 season.
“There was nothing better than being able to win (in New York),” Umenyiora said last week on “The Game,” an Atlanta sports radio station. “The only thing I can think of, for myself, personally, that would be better than winning in New York, would be if I was able to win here at home in Atlanta.”.
Umenyiora finally got his freedom this spring. The market hasn’t been what many of the pass rushers expected it would be, but Umenyiora has beaten fellow veterans John Abraham and Dwight Freeney to the punch in finding a new job.
Former Denver Broncos defensive end Elvis Dumervil, made a free agent by a fax snafu, set the market for pass rushers last week, but as the youngest one available at 29, he received a five-year, $35 million deal from the Baltimore Ravens, with $11 million guaranteed — less than what has been the salary for veteran pass rushers in previous years.
Umenyiora will help replace Abraham as a pass-rushing threat, though he has much higher goals in mind. Perceived by many as a one-dimensional player, Umenyiora intends to prove he can do more than rush the passer.
“I’m shooting for defensive player of the league this year,” Umenyiora wrote in an e-mail to USA TODAY before the start of free agency. “Whatever team I feel like I can help win and will give me a chance to do that, that’s where I’m going. The money is a byproduct of that, you know.”.
Umenyiora now has a team with which to aim for that goal this season.
Follow Mike Garafolo on Twitter @mikegarafolo.
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