The New Orleans Saints have been connected to former Atlanta Falcons defensive end John Abraham as the 2013 NFL free agency period continues to die down.
NOLA.com’s Larry Holder was the first to break the news that the Saints would “ponder” bringing in Abraham once the market cooled off:
A source said before free agency opened that the Saints would ponder the nearly 35-year-old Abraham once the market cooled off, and it has.
As sweet of a victory as it would be for Saints fans to see their team steal a big-name player from a divisional rival, it’s not a smart move for the franchise.
New Orleans is certainly familiar with Abraham, who has terrorized the franchise for years as one of the NFL’s better pass-rushers. He’s familiar with Saints quarterback Drew Brees and has made a variety of Saints linemen look bad over the years.
In 14 seasons, half of those with the Falcons, Abraham has recorded a jaw-dropping 122 sacks. Last season alone he notched 10, but the Falcons organization decided to move on because it would have cost too much to keep him around next year.
Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk reported in early March that the Saints would be bringing in Abraham for a visit at some point, but we haven’t heard official results of the visit. If the visit happened, Abraham was either not impressed or wanted to explore the market because he is still participating in a two-man race with Dwight Freeney for the attention of NFL teams across the country.
There are multiple problems for the Saints in regards to bringing in Abraham. The first one is financial—how exactly are the Saints planning on affording his services? As of late, it’s been reported the Saints had just above $2 million in free cap space—and that was before the signing of safety Jim Leonhard.
Either the Saints are going to be cutting some players soon to free up space, or some hefty contracts are going to have to get restructured. Forget signing a guy like Abraham. New Orleans has to clear room to sign draft picks and even meet minimum roster requirements at this point.
It would be nice to have a presence such as Abraham, but it’s hard to see how he would fit in defensive coordinator Rob Ryan’s new 3-4 defense. Abraham has made his money terrorizing quarterbacks with his hand in the dirt as a defensive end. How he fits in a different scheme is hard to tell.
Not to mention Abraham is already 34 years old. Sure, he appeared in all 16 games last season, but who knows how long he’ll have his health. He’s been fortunate so far, but is it really worth the financial gamble at this point if you’re the Saints?
New Orleans has an exciting crop of young guys as pass-rushers already. Guys like Victor Butler, Martez Wilson, Junior Galette and Cameron Jordan are ready to flex their muscles as pass-rushers.
Let them do that rather than bringing in another veteran.