The Atlanta Falcons signed Ray Edwards in the abbreviated 2011 off-season to a 5-year $30 Million contract. Let’s just say that he didn’t meet the expectations of this franchise when the signed him.
Edwards had recorded at least 8 sacks a season the past two seasons before joining the Falcons. Add that to a large number of quarterback hits and pressures, the Falcons believed they were getting a very solid pass-rushing defensive end. He may not have been on the same level as the Jared Allens or Julius Peppers of the world, but he was on the next tier down.
Unfortunately, the knee surgery that Edwards also had in the 2011 off-season affected him a lot more than was expected.
Edwards only produced 3 sacks, and was generally ineffective when rushing the passer. But now, Edwards says he is healthy, and that he is ready to produce at a high level.
It has been known for a long time that even when a knee is completely recovered from a surgery, the athlete usually takes another full year to gain confidence in that repaired joint. We see this routinely with receivers and running backs who aren’t quite themselves the first year after knee surgery, but are back to normal two seasons later. The hope is that Ray Edwards will return to his near-elite level of defensive end play. With additional coverage in the secondary, quarterbacks will have to hold on to the ball a beat longer. And that will be just enough to allow a player like Edwards to create chaos in the offense’s backfield.