The Atlanta Falcons are making a strong push to sign New York Giants free agent defensive end Osi Umenyiora and are trying to wrap up a deal before the end of the weekend, a league source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter on Friday.
Umenyiora visited the Falcons on Wednesday and underwent a physical with the team Thursday. The two sides have remained in regular contact since.
With starters Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Tuck firmly in place, Umenyiora knew his 10-year tenure with the Giants could be coming to an end. In January, he said he hoped to remain with the team but said that "I feel like I'm a Pro Bowl player, and I feel like I'm a starter in this league."
Umenyiora had 43 tackles and six sacks last season. Following the 2010 season in which he had 11.5 sacks and 10 forced fumbles, Umenyiora clashed with general manager Jerry Reese over his desire for a new contract.
"There was nothing better than being able to win there (in New York)," the free-agent pass rusher said on Friday on Atlanta's 92.9 The Game. "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. So we'll see how that plays out. Hopefully, it will work out in a positive direction."
Umenyiora has a home in Atlanta and has visited with the Falcons, who can use a pass rusher to replace John Abraham. Umenyiora appears to be a good fit for the Falcons.
"I live here so I just drove up there and visited with them," Umenyiora said. "It was very good. Very productive meeting. Hopefully, things will work out."
"From afar, I've never seen a team that has this much talent, especially offensively," Umenyiora later added. "With the weapons they have out wide, a good quarterback, a good solid offensive line ... they added Steven Jackson, one of the best backs in football.
"Very talented," he continued. "The sky is the limit. Defensively, they were very good. I think Abraham was a very good player. Obviously they released him, so he's going to find employment elsewhere. They have all of the makings of a very good football team. They just need a couple of key pieces here and there and I think they'll be OK."
Umenyiora has had to wait in free agency as the market for defensive ends has been slow. But pass rushers like Dwight Freeney, Abraham and Umenyiora could find jobs very soon.
"To be honest with you it was kind of expected," Umenyiora said of the wait. "When you have a guy like an Abraham or a Freeney or myself, obviously, we are all like 30-years-old or plus... Teams want to wait us out and they weren't trying to pay $12 million a season for a pass rusher. They were just going to wait until people got desperate and then make their move. Actually, right now a lot of teams are making their moves now."
Information from ESPNNewYork.com's Ohm Youngmisuk was used in this report.