The New Orleans Saint have a variety of options now that Victor Butler is presumably out for the year with a torn ACL suffered in OTAs, and one of those options moving forward may be to bring in former Atlanta Falcons pass-rusher John Abraham.
Abraham is an old foe of Drew Brees and the Saints who is known for being an effective pass-rusher. He’s still sitting on the free agent market despite having a variety of visits with teams like the Denver Broncos and Tennessee Titans.
Why Abraham is still on the market is not hard to figure out. He clearly wants too much money and a big role on defense despite being 35 years of age. Most teams were more than happy to find a cheaper and longer alternative somewhere in the NFL draft.
Despite his age, Abraham certainly still has something to offer NFL teams. He has totaled a ridiculous 122 sacks in his career to date, 10 of which came last season. The production is clearly still there but teams are hesitant because it could fall off at any second thanks to his age.
Of course, the problem with Abraham to the Saints is the fact he has played most of his career with his hand in the dirt as a defensive end in a 4-3. In New Orleans, Abraham would be asked to stand up and rush from the outside linebacker position in the new 3-4 under Rob Ryan. Veterans making such a scheme switch so late in their careers does not tend to work out—just look at how Dwight Freeny fared last year with the Indianapolis Colts attempting the same thing (hint—it didn’t work).
Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan is known for being a defensive guru, but one has to wonder if he can get the most out of an aging Abraham. There’s also the cap to worry about, as New Orleans has just over $5 million to work with.
One thing’s for sure—if Ryan wants to kick the tires on Abraham and he lowers his asking price, there certainly isn’t a reason to think Abraham wouldn’t be joining the Saints soon.