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Umenyiora could be missing piece for a couple AFC contenders

The New York Giants have given Osi Umenyiora permission to seek a trade, but is there a market for a 29-year-old pass rusher coming off a season in which he recorded 11.5 sacks and 10 forced fumbles?

On the surface, there would appear to be a host of suitors for the ninth-year pro. Umenyiora has amassed 60 sacks and made the Pro Bowl twice during the course of his first seven NFL seasons. He boasts rare athleticism, particularly his exceptional speed. Though his game is built upon finesse, he routinely finds ways to get to the quarterback, and his dominance is apparent when he faces isolated matchups on the edge.

While some regard Umenyiora as a one-dimensional player due to his porous run-stopping skills, he is such a difference-maker against the pass that teams would be willing to overlook his deficiencies to add the talented playmaker to their lineup.


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His injury history, however, might make some teams balk at the Giants' asking price (a first-round pick) to add the proven pass rusher. Umenyiora suffered a season-ending ACL injury in 2009, and he still is grappling with a hip injury that has plagued him for more than a year. Potential trade partners also must take Umenyiora's contract demands into account.

Given the circumstances surrounding Umenyiora, let's take a look at five teams that could be suitors for his services:

Tennessee Titans

The loss of Pro Bowl DE Jason Babin leaves the Titans without a proven pass rusher. Umenyiora not only would fill that void, but he is an upgrade at the position from an athleticism and talent standpoint. While his lofty contract demands could be a sticking point, there is no doubt that the Titans would love to add a pass rusher of his skill to their starting lineup.

Seattle Seahawks

Pete Carroll needs a dominant edge player to make his hybrid 4-3 work, and Umenyiora's skills are ideally suited for the Elephant position. Although Raheem Brock and Chris Clemons combined for 20 sacks a season ago, a team can never have enough pass rushers, and the addition of Umenyiora would allow the Seahawks to wear opponents down with a suddenly deep and talented defensive end rotation.

Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens have been searching for a pass rusher to complement Terrell Suggs for years. Umenyiora possesses the athleticism to play from an upright position, and his explosive first step puts tremendous pressure on offensive tackles in isolated matchups. With the Ravens' title window closing quickly due to age on their defense, acquiring Umenyiora would allow the Ravens to make one final run at the crown.

New England Patriots

Bill Belichick is contemplating a move to a four-man front following the addition of Albert Haynesworth, but the Patriots need a dynamic edge rusher to complete the transition. Umenyiora is a proven double-digit sack artist with the ability to feast off the one-on-one matchups that would result from offenses committing most of their protection to slowing down Haynesworth and Vince Wilfork up the middle.

Cleveland Browns

Mike Holmgren has started to rebuild the Browns' defense, but he is missing a forceful presence at defensive end. Rookie Jabaal Sheard has the potential to fit the bill, but Umenyiora is a proven commodity with the skill to single-handedly dominate a game. Given the Browns' lack of playmakers on both sides of the ball, a move here would make them more competitive in the AFC North.

Follow Bucky Brooks on Twitter @BuckyBrooks.

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