2012 NFL Free Agents: Atlanta Falcons Wise to Let John Abraham Test Free Agency

Richard Langford@@noontide34Correspondent IFebruary 22, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 01:  John Abraham #55 and Jonathan Babineaux #95 of the Atlanta Falcons celebrate after Abraham's sack and fumble recovery against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during play at the Georgia Dome on January 1, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Grant Halverson/Getty Images

In the harsh realities of the NFL world, the Atlanta Falcons are making a wise move to let John Abraham test the free-agent waters. 

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:

Rich Rosa, the agent for Atlanta Falcons defensive end John Abraham, said Wednesday that he believes his client will become a free agent this offseason, based on contract talks with the team.


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.