Falcons haven’t asked Umenyiora to take a pay cut, per se

AP

While it’s possible that Falcons defensive end Osi Umenyiora will take a pay cut in 2014, the team hasn’t actually asked him to take one.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the Falcons routinely engage in an annual assessment of the roster, in light of player salaries and cap numbers.  If/when that process flags a player who possibly is making too much money, the team inquires into the possibility of the player accepting a pay cut.

If the player isn’t inclined to take less, then the Falcons will decide whether to keep the player or cut him; they won’t squeeze the player to take less with an ultimatum.

It’s a subtle but important distinction.  The Falcons want players who buy in completely.  They don’t want players who will be disgruntled all season long after being backed into a corner.

Signed last season after spending nine with the Giants, Umenyiora is due to earn a base salary of $2.5 million and a roster bonus of $1 million in 2014.  There’s definitely a possibility that Umenyiora will reduce his pay, but only if he’s fully on board with it.

As a practical matter, he won’t be on board with it unless and until he knows whether another team would pay more than the reduced salary offered by the Falcons.  While it’s tampering for other teams to let it be known what Osi would be paid if Osi were cut, it happens all the time.

For the Falcons, if that’s what it takes to get Umenyiora to buy in to a reduced contract, they should welcome it.