Abraham, 33, has spent the last six seasons with the Falcons after spending his spending his first six with the New York Jets.
He has been a productive and durable player for the Falcons. He has played in at least 15 games in each of his past five seasons, tallying 22.5 sacks combined in his last two seasons. He has 58.5 sacks total in his time with the Falcons.
However, his contract is up, and talks on a deal appeared to have stalled out.
Steve Wyche of NFL.com relayed this bit of news from Abraham's agent:
Why This is a Wise Move
Letting a player test the free-agent market is not an admission they are going to let him walk. This is simply an indication that the player and his agent are demanding more money than the team is willing to pay.
And they should. It is in their best interest to lock up a big deal for Abraham since this is likely to be the last big contract of his career.
The Falcons can now let Abraham find his market value and decide if they want to offer him something enticing enough to get him to re-sign at that point.
With the rigid salary cap of the NFL, it is never a good policy to overpay a player. If a team blows away Abraham with a deal that they feel is out of whack, they can move on.
While this would be a big loss for the Falcons, they would be able to use those funds to help find a replacement or fill out the roster.
This move allows them greater flexibility moving forward, and it doesn't prevent them from bringing back Abraham. That is a no-lose proposition.