The Falcons signed offensive guard Vince Manuwai on Friday night.
Manuwai, 6-foot-2, 335 pounds, played for the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2003 to 2010. He played left guard in 111 games and started in 105.
He was a third round pick (72nd overall) out of Hawaii in 2003.
Manuwai was scheduled to make $3.5 million last season when he was cut by the Jaguars in July. The terms of his deal with the Falcons were undisclosed.
Manuwai was as solid run blocker, who helped to power the Jaguars run game for running backs Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew.
He suffered a torn tendon in his ankle during the lockout and wasn’t ready to play when it ended. He reported to camp at 344 pounds.
“I’m not bitter,” Manuwai told the Florida Times-Union after being cut. ”I’m happy for what I did for the team. There were a lot of great things. Running the ball like crazy as we did.”
He remembered his time in Jacksonville fondly.
“My first year, we gave up the fewest franchise sacks (28). Rushing aganst the Colts, 375 yards (2006), last year coming back when people counted me out. Three games in a row, we rushed for over 200 yards. Then Mojo [Jones-Drew] the eight games I played with him, he rushed over a thousand.
“When I played there were a lot of great things. My first year, Fred had the best rushing year out of all the years he’s been playing. Almost 1,600 yards (1,572). My fourth year (2006), we broke the franchise record with 2,500 yards (2,541). All those things come to mind as far as playing for this team. When you get released, you remember all those things.”
Injuries started to mount for Manuwai. In 2008, he suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in the season opener at Tennessee and missed the season.
In 2010, he missed five games with a back injury.
The Falcons plan to have open competitions at all of their offensive line spots. Manuwai would figure to have a shot at winning the starting right guard spot if he’s fully recovered and can reclaim his skill level.
Last season, the Falcons mainly used Garrett Reynolds and Joe Hawley at right guard. Also, Mike Johnson, who missed most of last season with a foot injury, will compete for the spot.
Manuwai played under current Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter for four seasons from 2007 to 2010 when Koetter served as the Jaguars offensive coordinator. In 2007, the team posted 5,719 yards of total offense and 357.4 yards per game, which were both the second-highest totals in team history.
While under Koetter, Manuwai helped the Jaguars establish one of the league’s most consistent running games averaging 4.5 yards per carry and 134.2 yards per game on the ground.
–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog