NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — It was expected, and now it’s for real: Osi Umenyiora’s time with the Giants is up.
The Atlanta Falcons reached an agreement Wednesday with the free-agent defensive end on a two-year, $8.5 million contract.
Umenyiora, 6-foot 3 and 255 pounds, was a second-round pick from Troy State by the Giants in 2003. He has 75 sacks, 31 forced fumbles and 13 fumble recoveries in his career and helped New York win two Super Bowl championships.
“There was nothing better than being able to win (in New York),” Umenyiora told 92.9 The Game in Atlanta last week. “The only thing I can think of, for myself personally, (better) than being able to win in New York would be if I was able to win here at home in Atlanta.”
The presence of defensive ends Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Tuck made Umenyiora a part-time starter last season, but he’ll be expected to replace the 34-year-old John Abraham as the Falcons’ top pass-rusher. Defensive end Kroy Biermann was second on the Falcons with only 4 sacks last season.
Umenyiora had a career-high 14 1/2 sacks in 2005, when he was a first-team All-Pro selection. He has reached double figures in sacks only one of the last four years – 11 1/2 in 2010.
He set an NFL record with 10 forced fumbles in 2010 and a Giants record with six sacks in a 2007 win over Philadelphia.
The 31-year-old Umenyiora gives the Falcons a slightly younger replacement at defensive end, but his production has declined in recent years. He had only six sacks for the Giants in 2012, when he started only four of 16 games. He had 55 tackles, five for losses, and one forced fumble.
Umenyiora’s agent, Tom Condon, couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.
Umenyiora made a brief reference to his new NFL home on his Twitter feed when he tweeted “#RISE UP” – the Falcons’ slogan.
The Falcons released Abraham, the team leader with 10 sacks in 2012, on March 1, the same day they also released running back Michael Turner and cornerback Dunta Robinson.
The team replaced Turner by signing Steven Jackson to a three-year, $12 million deal March 14. Now Umenyiora joins Jackson as Atlanta’s second major free-agent addition.
The Falcons scheduled a news conference with Umenyiora for Thursday.
Linebacker Chase Blackburn, who debuted with the Giants in 2005, also signed a two-year contract with the Panthers.
Will the Giants regret letting Osi leave? Be heard in the comments…
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