NFL Free Agency Rumors: Falcons, Browns, Ray Edwards and Osi Umenyiora?

According to too many people to count on Twitter last night from Cleveland reporters Tony Grossi and Mary Kay Cabot, to Adam Schefter and the national guys, the Browns and Falcons were bidding for the services of former Vikings defensive end Ray Edwards.  Some even referred to it as a “bidding war.”  Who knows if that was just a measure used to try and hype up the news.  Regardless, it is difficult to figure exactly how a high profile signing of one of the best defensive players available in free agency fits into Tom Heckert’s supposed “philosophy” to not go too big in free agency.

In a way, it could be in the Browns’ best interest to keep a player like Ray Edwards away from Atlanta.  He is just one player on an entire team, but he has the potential to be pretty dominant.  The Browns, of course, are hoping the Falcons have a pretty bad season to help improve the draft status of the picks they traded for when they gift-wrapped Julio Jones for the Falcons during this year’s draft.

But Atlanta seems to be making more moves that could signal their level of interest.  This morning the Falcons parted ways with two somewhat disappointing first round draft choices in defensive end Jamaal Anderson (2007) and wide receiver Michael Jenkins (2004.)  Jenkins*** was certainly more productive than Anderson for the Falcons.  Regardless, the two combined were set to make about $7 million this season.  Cutting those two guys frees up a significant amount of money that the Falcons might need in order to sign Ray Edwards.

The other (potentially) moving piece in all this is the Giants’ apparent interest in trading the contractually dissatisfied Osi Umenyiora.  The 29-year old is thought to be considering a holdout.  If you were his agent, you would recommend it too as so many guys are getting paid big money right now and few have been as productive as Umenyiora who has more than 10 sacks per season in the last five years.  Plus, at 29 this could be one of Umenyiora’s best if not last chances to really make the big bucks in his NFL career.

So, it is a lot of fun now that the lockout is over.  The Browns are in the running for free agents and big-time trade targets.  They have money to spend.  I just hope they spend wisely.  If it was up to me, despite Umenyiora’s productivity, I would prefer to have the guy who is 26.  Beggars can’t be choosers, but then again, didn’t Tom Heckert say the Browns were going to build through the draft and not make a big splash in free agency?  I guess he never said anything about high profile trades with the New York Giants.

*** Yes, I know that Michael Jenkins plays wide receiver. Yes, I am aware that he played at Ohio State. No, that doesn’t mean that the Browns need to sign him.

  • Anonymous

    Umenyiora over Edwards.
    All. Day. Long.

    is this for real? can’t be. no way we get Umenyiora. impossible.

  • Anonymous

    I’m with you on this Craig. I think I would rather have Edwards over a more proven commodity in Osi.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Craig Lyndall

    I just worry about extending a 29 year old DE who has missed some time with a knee injury. Those extra years of playing time and experience are really expensive from an injury risk and longevity standpoint.

  • Anonymous

    I would vote for Umenyiora, simply because ever since Brady Quinn and CC Sabathia left Cleveland, the city has had a giant void in SubWay spokespeople.

  • jdreyfuss

    I agree about Edwards. They have to make up something like $16M of their cap room to get above the floor and signing a 26-year-old to a long term contract is a better bet that he’ll still be playing at a high level in five or six years than a 29-year-old.

  • mgbode

    I agree. It would depend on the length of the contract too.

    But, Ray Edwards worries me too as he never had to be ‘the man’ on the Minny DL with the Williams-Wall and Jared Allen. It was easier pickens for him.

    The guy I like: Cliff Avril (yes, I know all indications are that Detroit will sign him to keep their monster DL, but I’m holding out hope until I see it officially)

  • mgbode

    see, this is why people keep coming back here. I’m not in town and had no idea CC had a subway ad. Really? I mean, was that in Subway’s best interest to have a rather large man be in their ad’s for what they try to pretend are a healthy alternative to fast food (ok, compared to McD’s…). I think that is hilarious (would have been funnier if CC blew up like Bartolo did when he left, but funny nonetheless).

  • Anonymous

    is avril available? bode, we’ve discussed this before and i’m with you. i think he brings as much as anyone but you would’ve had to have watched a couple lions games to know this. few did.

  • Anonymous

    This article does not mention any rumors that we are even making a play for Umenyiora. At least with Edwards, the author quoted some Twitter chatter.

    All filler no killer.

  • Anonymous

    i think you’re thinking of justin tuck and his hideous commercials with strahan. all umenyiora does is kill qbs.

    craig, what’s the source of the usi rumor?

  • mgbode

    According to the ESPN tracker, the Lions have not reached an agreement with him yet. Before the lockout, they tendered him a 1st & 3rd, which no longer applies. However, it shows that they mean business when it comes to resigning him.

    And yes, we are his biggest cheerleaders on this board, but it doesn’t mean we’re wrong. The guy can flatout play.

  • Woods

    I would be fine with either Edwards or Omenyiora as an addition to the thin DE.

    I will start my yearly “sign guard Nick Cole” campaign. I hope this will be the year since he is an UFA. Would be a clear upgrade to the line.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Craig Lyndall

    Just trying to connect imaginary dots between the Browns, Falcons, Giants, etc. Three teams, two defensive ends and a lot of draft picks in the Browns trade arsenal.

  • Bob

    Don’t they Browns have to make some big free agency moves in order to reach the salary cap floor?

  • mgbode

    getting a Joe Thomas extension going will help us get nearer to that floor rather quickly. I don’t think he’ll need to do a PR campaign for it like Cribbs either :)

  • Dom

    I’d rather have Braylon Edwards than Michael Jenkins, and that’s saying a lot. Like Braylon, Jenkins has a history of dropping balls, but is not nearly as dynamic a player…

  • Acrossthefield11

    Blasphemy… I’d take my high school alma maters’s #3 receiver over Braylon.

  • Gren

    Ray Edwards is 26, Osi is 29… sign Ray a.s.a.p.

  • Crobarred

    Too late…Falcons signed Edwards for 5 years and 30 million.

  • Du

    Looks like Ray Edwards has signed a 5 year deal with the Falcons. Bust!

  • GoDeep

    Don’t sign Ray, he just won’t be productive. Edwards is the guy who bragged about how he was going to shatter the single season sack record, had a great line so he VERY rarely got double teamed, and still had a barely good (far less than record breaking) year. If he’s “the man” on a DL he’ll never reach 10 sacks in a season again. His performance has never been anywhere near the level of his talk.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Craig Lyndall

    The Lions haven’t made Avril a priority yet because he is restricted. They have a couple other things to attend to first, but they intend on keeping Avril from everything I’ve read and heard.

  • Anonymous

    I just read a report that for the ’12 season its a league wide floor and per team floors will be starting for the ’13 season.

  • Foghorn Leghorn

    I dunno…I mean Braylon punched out LeBron’s boy. Sort of puts BE in a better light now.