However, Irvin threw another curveball Monday. As ESPN.com Seahawks reporter Sheil Kapadia wrote, Irvin said he would be willing to take a discount to remain with the Seahawks.
"I was asked that," Irvin said. "Pete [Carroll] and John [Schneider] asked me that when I met with them today. If it came to that, I would definitely come back. $3-4 million? $3 [million], $4 [million], $5 million? I would definitely come back because I'm established here.''
But money talks. As former sports agent and now contract/cap analyst Joel Corry noted Monday, Irvin's agent, Joel Segal, won't be interested in taking a hometown discount. Segal was the same guy who brokered a six-year, $101 million deal for Kansas City pass-rushing linebacker Justin Houston, a deal that included $52.5 million guaranteed.
That's not to say Irvin will break the bank. Houston's at another level. But Irvin should be in line for a significant pay raise from the $2.3 million he made in his first contract.
So how much would the Falcons be willing to pay Irvin if he reaches free agency in March? Well, consider this: They signed outside linebacker Brooks Reed, who had a minimal impact this past season, to a five-year, $22.5 million deal that included $9 million guaranteed. Segal could argue that if Reed is worth $4.5 million per year, Irvin is worth double that with the pass-rush skills he possesses.
Before Reed, the last two significant defensive free-agent signings for the Falcons were linemen Paul Soliai and Tyson Jackson. Soliai got a five-year, $32 million deal ($6.4 million per year) that included $14 million guaranteed, while Jackson received a five-year contract for $25 million ($5 million per year) that included $11 million guaranteed.
We'll see how this scenario plays out for Irvin, who was born in Atlanta and went to high school in Georgia. He has 22 career sacks, including eight during his rookie season in 2012. This past season, Irvin had 5.5 sacks -- more than any Falcon -- along with 14 quarterback hits and eight tackles for loss.
Teaming Irvin with Vic Beasley could create a pretty potent rush combination. Plus, Irvin plays with a certain edge to him, something the Falcons need more of on the team.