Speaking about Osi Umenyiora's future at the NFL Scouting Combine, Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith indicated that the veteran defensive end would remain on the team.
"I am never gonna say never. ... But I'm looking forward to continuing to work with him," Smith said.
Now we know why he didn't say never. Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports reports that the Falcons are asking Umenyiora to take a pay cut. He's due $3.5 million in 2014, including a $500,000 roster bonus that's due March 25, according to Brian McIntyre. Smith talked up the "outstanding job" Umenyiora did on the field and as a leader last season.
It would not be a surprise to see Umenyiora take a small pay cut to stay in Atlanta. There is a deep market of defensive ends this offseason; Umenyiora wouldn't crack our top 10.
The Falcons probably want to free up some room to sign one or two free-agent defensive linemen, and Umenyiora should be wary of jumping into a crowded pool.
*The latest "Around The League Podcast" talks the latest news, Jimmy Graham and the best fits in free agency. *