The Atlanta Falcons found a replacement Wednesday for John Abraham by reaching an agreement with defensive end Osi Umenyiora on a two-year, $8.5 million contract.
The Falcons released the 34-year-old Abraham, who led the team with 10 sacks in 2012, on March 1. With the 31-year-old Umenyiora, the Falcons have a slightly younger replacement.
Umenyiora had a career-high 14½ sacks in 2005, but has reached double figures in only one of the last four years — 11½ in 2010. Umenyiora had only six sacks for the Giants in 2012.
Umenyiora, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, was a second-round pick by New York in 2003.
Goodbye to Gaither
The Chargers released left tackle Jared Gaither, who will go down as one of the biggest busts in former general manager A.J. Smith’s tenure.
Gaither’s release after just one season of a four-year, $24.5 million contract will cost the Chargers a $6 million hit against the salary cap this year.
New general manager Tom Telesco didn’t respond to a request for comment on the release of Gaither, who earned $9 million last year, including an $8 million signing bonus.
WADA blasts union
The World Anti-Doping Agency has defended its test for human growth hormone and accused the NFL players union of being ‘‘extremist’’ for questioning its validity.
WADA director general David Howman told the AP the test for HGH was endorsed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in its ruling Tuesday in the case of an Estonian cross-country skier.
The court lifted the three-year suspension imposed by the International Ski Federation on two-time Olympic cross-country champion Andrus Veerpalu for use of HGH, citing ‘‘procedural flaws.’’ But CAS said it believed Veerpalu did take HGH and backed the testing method.
Howman says ‘‘there is no question as to the validity of the test.’’
The NFL players union said the CAS ruling ‘‘validates the players’ demands for scientific validity, full due process rights, and a transparent system.’’
Howman said, ‘‘I would expect the players association to take a stance which is extremist which is the way they’ve operated the last few years.’’
Giants’ Dahl takes cut
The Giants put a little more money in the Victor Cruz contract fund this week by cutting the salary of right tackle David Diehl by nearly $3.5 million. The paycut was revealed when a look at Diehl’s salary for this season was listed at $1 million on the NFLPA website. The 11-year veteran had been scheduled to make $4.37 million in the final year of his contract. Cruz, who has led the team in receiving the past two years, remains a free agent . . . The agent for Chase Blackburn says the former Giants linebacker has agreed on a two-year contract with the Panthers.
Gross, Carolina agree
The good news for offensive tackle Jordan Gross is he’s staying with the Panthers. The downside is that means having to take a pay cut. Gross told the Associated Press Wednesday that his restructured deal is worth $5.5 million in 2013 and will void out after the season, making him a free agent. The two-time Pro Bowl selection was scheduled to earn $8.7 million this year and $6.7 million in 2014. The move frees up $3.2 million for the Panthers under this year’s salary cap.
Ravens snag Huff
The Ravens agreed to a three-year deal with former Raiders safety Michael Huff, who played his entire seven-year career with the Raiders before being released last week . . . The Raiders released defensive tackle Tommy Kelly, cutting ties with their longest-tenured position player.
Cowboys add two
The Cowboys signed safety Will Allen and linebacker Justin Durant after restructuring the contract of backup quarterback Kyle Orton and releasing receiver Anthony Armstrong to clear enough salary-cap space. Durant started 14 games and had 103 tackles last season for Detroit . . . The Texans signed unrestricted free agent fullback Greg Jones, their third signing since Friday. Jones, who turns 32 next Thursday, played his first nine seasons with the Jaguars, who drafted him in the second round in 2004 . . . Police in Middletown, Conn., say Lions safety Amari Spievey was arrested in his hometown after a child support dispute. The Middletown Press reported Wednesday that the 24-year-old Spievey was arrested Tuesday on charges of third-degree assault, risk of injury to a child, and disorderly conduct. His girlfriend, 26-year-old Lisamarie Santos, also was charged with risk of injury and disorderly conduct . . . The Cardinals signed safety and special teams player Jonathon Amaya to a one-year contract . . . Offensive lineman Lance Louis, still rehabilitating from a season-ending knee injury, signed with the Dolphins. Louis, who spent the last four years with the Bears, tore his left ACL in November.