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Seattle will host the free agent defensive end this weekend.
Free agent defensive end John Abraham will visit the Seahawks this weekend, NFL Network's Kim Jones reports. Abraham, 34, had 10.0 sacks in 2012 in 15 starts, adding 7 passes defensed and 6 forced fumbles.
Abraham, one of the all time premiere pass rushers with 122.0 career sacks, signed a three-year, $16.72 million contract to return to the Falcons last season instead of heading into free agency. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's D.Orlando Ledbetter, "the Titans and Broncos expressed interest and there was a least one undisclosed NFL team with a more lucrative offer on the table." Abraham was recently released as a salary cap casualty; "his cap number was $7.25 million and minus his prorated signing bonus of $1.5 million he saved the Falcons $5.75 million."
With Chrls Clemons' 2013 season still up in the air due to a torn ACL in early January, Seattle should need to bring in one or two veterans as depth at the defensive end position, and will likely look to the Draft for depth and talent at that positon as well. Finding a quality player to rotate with Bruce Irvin and take some pressure off the 2nd year player will be the main goal, and Abraham certainly fits the profile of a slightly bigger LEO rusher at 6'4, 263. If he signs in Seattle, it will likely be a short term deal - he turns 35 in May.
Seattle has now been linked to three older, vested veterans - Cullen Jenkins & Charles Woodson being the other two.
At this point, it doesn't seem to just be a fleeting interest in turning over rocks for 'what's out there' - and before it's said and done, I'd look for the Seahawks to bring in other vets like Osi Umenyoura and possibly Dwight Freeney, not to mention interior guys like Desmond Bryant, Sammie Lee Hill, Glenn Dorsey, Sedrick Ellis, and Mike Patterson to see how each player may fit in this organization. Seattle seems to be targeting talented and tenured veterans that could come in to augment the upcoming draft class, possibly play a key role on the team, offer leadership and mentoring value, and hopefully put this team in a position where they can reprise their excellent defense from 2012 but bring more ability to rush the passer - a key issue they'll need to address for a run at the Playoffs and hopefully the Super Bowl.
I contacted Dave Choate, the lead writer and editor of The Falcoholic, for a quick scouting report on Abraham. Here's what he said:
John Abraham was known, during his time in Atlanta, as 'The Predator' or simply Abe. He was universally beloved by the fanbase. Here's a little scouting report for you thieves...I mean, Seahawks fans.
STRENGTHS: Abe can still bring the heat as a pass rusher. He's one of the best technicians in the game, he still has a fast first step and he explodes into quarterbacks. Even mobile quarterbacks have a hard time fooling him, because he's still so deadly in short bursts. He's not a slouch dropping back in coverage, either.
WEAKNESSES: Everything else. At this stage of his career, Abraham is a part-time player. He's not a run-stopper. He's not generally effective for long stretches. Abe gives you great pass rushing in limited snaps, which is still incredibly valuable. You're just not getting the complete player he once was.
This makes sense. I'd say this scouting report probably mirrors that of Dwight Freeney as well, and may not be too far off from an Osi report either. Seattle isn't going to find a Chris Clemons in free agency - a guy that can play the run and rush the passer with equal aplomb - guys like that are just not that common, so they'll probably target role playing types that can fit a need - in this case - getting to the passer on passing downs.
Much thanks to Dave for the report - and I should point out again that Choate was nothing but classy all throughout and the week running up to and after the Seahawks-Falcons playoff game. Head over to The Falcoholic for more.