Posted: 12:56 pm Saturday, March 22nd, 2014
By D. Orlando Ledbetter
Falcons defensive end Osi Umenyiora no longer has to endure uncertainty for next season.
Umenyiora will return and no restructure of his contract is planned, according to general manager Thomas Dimitroff. Also, defensive end Kroy Biermann will be back and there is no restructure planned for his contract, either.
There was one of those unsourced reports that the team wanted him to take a pay cut.
The Falcons were pleased with Umenyiora’s mentorship of the young defensive ends last season. As the team’s playoff hopes slipped away, Umenyiora moved into a designated pass rusher role.
Umenyiora has a salary cap number of $4.75 million and a base salary of $2.5 million for 2014.
Biermann, who’s coming back from torn Achilles tendon surgery, has a salary cap number of $4.08 and a base salary of $3.05 million for 2015.
Umenyiora, 32, signed a two-year, $8.5 million contract with the Falcons on March 28. He hopes to return next season. He played his first nine seasons in the league with the New York Giants, where he was on two Super Bowl winning teams and was a two-time Pro Bowler.
“I’m a team guy, especially right now,” Umenyiora said. “For the team, I don’t think it’s been quite as good this year. Hopefully, we can get this thing corrected next year. But for me, you know, I just didn’t help this team (enough). Right now, my whole focus is going in there and doing the best I can.”
Umenyiora said he plans to focus on rushing from both the right and left sides, although he’s mostly been used from the right side for most of his career.
Against Washington, Massaquoi played 58 of 68 defensive snaps (86 percent). While rookie defensive ends Malliciah Goodman (27) and Stansly Maponga (10 snaps) got some action, too.
“It was not a demotion,” Smith insisted. “I basically wanted to put him on a pitch count in terms of number of snaps.”
With main free agent signee Paul Soliai, a defensive tackle, clogging up the middle, Umenyiora and Biermann should have more one-on-one rush opportunities when the Falcons are in their 4-3 and 3-4 defensive alignments.
The Falcons will likely play their stouter ends, Tyson Jackson, Jonathan Massaquoi, Malliciah Goodman in run situations. Also, Peria Jerry and Jonathan Babibeaux, 4-3 tackles and have also been used as ends in the 3-4.
The Falcons are not switching the 3-4. They have already been running it for the past two seasons.
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