Ray Edwards looked like a bargain as recently as training camp of last year. Now he looks like an ill-advised signing for a front office that's better at finding defensive ends in the draft than signing them.
I always hesitate to drop the hammer on players, because I'm a firm believer that some guys just take longer to come around. With someone like Edwards, who managed almost 30 sacks in five seasons with the Vikings, it seems like there must be some factor that's causing him to produce basically nil for this football team.
Unfortunately, those who said that Edwards was only a quality player in Minnesota because he got to rush the passer opposite Jared Allen appear to be right. Let's take a look at what Edwards has done against John Abraham and Kroy Biermann over the last season and a half.
Edwards: 41 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 3 pass deflections
Biermann: 69 tackles, 4.5 sacks, 1 pass deflection, 1 interception
Abraham: 55 tackles, 16.5 sacks, 5 pass deflections, 7 forced fumbles
You'll notice that Biermann, who drew less snaps than Edwards a year ago, has undeniably outproduced him. Abraham has destroyed them both, but he's also a ravenous killing machine who is only sated by the blood of quarterbacks. He doesn't quite count.
While Edwards was very good against the run a year ago, he's had very little to do in Mike Nolan's new defense. Nolan prizes versatility and the ability to disrupt plays in the backfield, and Edwards has shown little ability to do either during his stint in Atlanta thus far. Get ready to have your mind blown by what I'm about to write.
Thus far this season, the Falcons have given Kroy Biermann 500 total snaps, which leads the defensive line. Edwards has gotten just 215. If you remove special teams from the equation, Biermann has 345 snaps against Edwards' 187. Duff Man has, in essence, supplanted Edwards, who only has eight tackles and zero sacks this season.
We've given Thomas Dimitroff some crap for his signings and draft picks before, but keep in mind that Peria Jerry blew out his knee and Dunta Robinson has finally started to turn into the player the Falcons thought they were getting when they signed him. Edwards has been a colossal bust, to the point where he's being both outplayed and benched in favor of Biermann, a 2008 fifth round pick who has never managed more than five sacks in a season. That's a massive disappointment.
If Cliff Matthews and Jonathan Massaquoi can develop this year, it's not a stretch to think the Falcons may just cut bait with Edwards in the off-season. His contract seemed very reasonable for a guy coming off an eight sack campaign in 2010, but now it seems awfully onerous for a third defensive end.
The Falcons have to hope that Biermann and Abraham can stay healthy, because Edwards and the team's other ends have given them virtually nothing in 2012. That's a major concern.
Weigh in on Edwards.