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Updated: July 29th, 2011 12:14pm
Falcons sign Ray Edwards for 5 years, bargain price of $30 million

Falcons sign Ray Edwards for 5 years, bargain price of $30 million

by Tom Pelissero
1500ESPN.com
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Ray Edwards got his money, and it appears Brian Robison will get his chance to start.

Edwards has signed a five-year contract with the Atlanta Falcons, FoxSports.com reported early Friday afternoon.

The Falcons quickly confirmed the report, with ESPN reporting the deal is worth $30 million with $11 million guaranteed -- far short of the six-year, $72 million deal Charles Johnson received three days earlier from Carolina that included a $30 million signing bonus.

In fact, Edwards' $6 million average per year is closer to the three-year, $14.1 million contract ($4.7 million average) the Vikings gave Robison, who received a $6.5 million signing bonus in February.

Several NFL sources said recently the Vikings' lack of interest in re-signing Edwards, 26, was considered a red flag that caused teams to look further into his background.

In the end, it was the Falcons -- reportedly out of the running for Edwards earlier in the week -- who decided to take a shot after they missed out on Johnson and the price fell.

So, the Vikings will move on as planned with Robison atop the depth chart at the left end position Edwards has held down for most of the past four seasons.

Robison is older (28), lacks Edwards' physical talent and played only 31.9% of the defensive snaps last season, recording two sacks to increase his four-year career total to 14½. But he's known as a try-hard guy and figures to top a rotation that also figures to include second-year pro Everson Griffen.

"I guess I'm your poor man's Ray Edwards," Robison said recently, adding that he hoped Edwards would "go somewhere else and sign a big deal, get his 40, 50 million that he needs to get, and I'll sit here with my teensy 14 million and hopefully, get a bunch of sacks."

The Vikings have now lost three players in unrestricted free agents (Edwards, plus receiver Sidney Rice and quarterback Tarvaris Jackson to Seattle) and re-signed two others (place-kicker Ryan Longwell and safety Eric Frampton).

Still unsigned are: receiver Hank Baskett, offensive lineman Ryan Cook, defensive tackle Fred Evans, quarterback Brett Favre, linebacker Ben Leber, receiver Greg Lewis, cornerback Lito Sheppard, fullback Naufahu Tahi, cornerback Frank Walker, nose tackle Pat Williams and quarterback Patrick Ramsey.

The Vikings have shown interest in bringing back Cook and Leber.

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Tom | @TomPelissero | Tom Pelissero
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