Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.

Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.

Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.

Edwards agrees to five-year deal with Falcons

Posted by: under Vikings, NFC, Brian Robison, Jared Allen, Ray Edwards Updated: July 29, 2011 - 12:58 PM

Ray Edwards has found a job.

After being on the market for three days, the defensive end agreed to a five-year deal with the Atlanta Falcons on Friday, according to Fox's Jay Glazer. ESPN reported the deal is worth $30 million with $11 million in guarantees.

That Edwards will land in Atlanta doesn't come as a surprise. Edwards was rumored to be headed to the Falcons during the lockout. However, this week a report surfaced that the team might look elsewhere and Edwards could end up in Philadelphia. Edwards said Monday he had no idea where the rumors of him going to Philadelphia had started.

Atlanta released former first-round defensive end Jamaal Anderson and also let go of wide receiver Michael Jenkins on Friday, clearing $7.8 million in salary cap space. 

Edwards, 26, was a a fourth-round pick of the Vikings in 2006. He had 8.5 sacks in 2009 as the starting left end and last season was second on the team with 8 sacks, three behind right end Jared Allen. Edwards had 29.5 sacks in five seasons with Minnesota.

Despite his ability to get to the quarterback, Edwards and the Vikings seemed to be on the same page about ending their relationship. Edwards was upset last offseason that the final year of the collective bargaining agreement meant that instead of him becoming an unresetricted free agent he was restricted. The Vikings put a restricted tag on him, giving him a first-round tender of $2.5 million.

Edwards made it clear he would not be returning to Minnesota and even launched a boxing career during the lockout. He won his only bout this spring, and in the press release he was referred to as a former Viking. The Vikings, meanwhile, made no apparent attempt to change Edwards' mind about leaving and signed backup end Brian Robison to a  three-year, $14.1 million deal just before the lockout started.

If Edwards thought he was in line for a huge payday, he didn't get it. The Carolina Panthers, for instance, signed end Charles Johnson to a six-year, $72 million contract that included a $30 million signing bonus.

Edwards can sign his contract at 5 p.m. today, when the signings of veteran free agents will become official.



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