In my opinion, one of the biggest under-the-radar moves in free agency this year was the Falcons signing defensive end Ray Edwards away from The Vikings. As evidenced by the way Aaron Rodgers picked them apart in the playoffs last season, the pass rush needed some help. With Edwards, many believe this need was addressed nicely.
No longer would John Abraham have to fight through double, and sometimes triple teams to get at the opposing quarterback. However, many have also been critical of the signing by calling Edwards a “system guy” and that he just vultured off of playing alongside Jason Allen and the Williams’ in Minnesota and that is why he accrued 16.5 sacks in the past two seasons.
While there is no denying that Allen is a spectacular pass rusher, Edwards won’t have to do it alone. John Abraham is just a season removed from compiling 16.5 sacks in the 2009 campaign alone. His sack totals dipped a bit in 2010, but he still gets consistent pressure on most plays. Jonathan Babineaux isn’t a slouch either.
In short, this was about the best possible option Atlanta could have taken to fill this need via free agency this year. It also silenced a lot of the critics who were still trashing their draft day decision to trade so many assets to get up and take Julio Jones in the first round instead of improving their pass rush.
But with the news breaking this morning that Edwards had offseason knee surgery, the situation has to be reevaluated. The beat writer for the Falcons is saying that it was only a “minor procedure” and he is being held out of the Falcons first preseason game as a precaution only. But with a 5 year contract that includes $11 Million in guarantees, it’s understandable to see why Atlanta fans may be panicking at the news.
Personally, I’m not worried about it. Atlanta has a good medical staff and I’m sure the team doctors checked him out quite well before they busted out Arthur Blank’s checkbook. But it is a bit more understandable now how Atlanta got him at a bargain price for such a premiere position. Still, I say don’t worry until there is something to worry about. Hardly a year goes by for NFL veterans where they don’t have some kind of operation in the offseason anymore.
Filed under: NFC South