Yes, it finally happened. After less than a week ago, the Falcons reportedly dropped out of the Ray Edwards sweepstakes due to reportedly asking too high of a price. Falcons fans started seeing defensive end after defensive end snatched off the market including Charles Johnson, Jason Babin, and several others.
After believing that the Falcons had given up on defensive end pursuit, the front office followed up re-signing Tyson Clabo with the release of former first round picks Jamaal Anderson and Michael Jenkins, freeing up over $7 million dollars. Many believed that something was afoot after the sudden change. If they had planned to use that money to keep guys like Jason Snelling and Justin Blalock, than their release surely would’ve come much sooner. Reports that teams interested in Ray Edwards had dropped down to the Falcons, Browns, and Titans. If Edwards wanted to go to an immediate contender, the Falcons looked more and more that they would get back in the derby.
According to Jay Glazer on Twitter via Rotoworld.com, here’s the breakdown:
Falcons agreed to terms with DE Ray Edwards on a five-year, $30 million contract.
It’s a huge get for the Falcons. Edwards’ 16.5 sacks over the past two seasons in Minnesota are impressive, even if most of them came against single blocks. He forms a dominant bookend on the left side with right end John Abraham, one of the best sack-artists in the league. Still just 26, Edwards has major upside left as a disruptor of passing attacks. His market was slow to develop mostly because of character concerns. Atlanta can now trot out a three-defensive end rotation of Abraham, Edwards, and the highly underrated Kroy Biermann.
Plenty of critics will be coming out in force to say that the Falcons only just signed a mediocre defensive end who was just the benefit of playing next to three previous Pro Bowlers. While his sacks weren’t eye-popping, they were insanely consistent the last two years and outproduced the entire rest of the Falcons defensive line not named John Abraham. Edwards becomes the new franchise defensive end and will be ready to step right in for John Abraham if he decides to either retire or go somewhere else after becoming a free agent.
The Falcons just did what every media talking head said they would do, and Dimitroff did it for HALF the cost of what the Carolina Panthers insanely paid Charles Johnson to stay in Charlotte. At 6 million a year, not only is this a bargain, but Dimitroff actually gained a net plus in salary cap room by cutting Anderson and Jenkins while adding Ray Edwards.
Guess we keep forgetting why Thomas Dimitroff is one of the best general managers in the NFL. There’s a reason he was named NFL Executive of the Year two out of the last three years.