Packers to release Chad Clifton, could John Abraham land with Saints?

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The Atlanta Falcons and defenseive end John Abraham have been working on a new deal over the last few weeks, but contract talks have slowed recently and now it appears the veteran pass rush specialist could hit the free agent market.

Abraham, his agent, and Falcons brass are scheduled to meet in Indianapolis at the combine this week to continue negotiations, but neither side is optimistic that a deal will get done.

Since 2000, when Abraham entered the league as a first round draft pick of the New York Jets, he has totaled 112 sacks while earning four Pro Bowl selections.

Last season with the Falcons Abraham notched 9.5 sacks in fifteen games, proving that even though he is 33-years old he still possesses the ability to rush the passer as good or better than anyone in the league.

The New Orleans Saints defense is getting a face lift this off-season under new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, who relies on more pressure from his front four and less pressure from the blitz in his defensive scheme.

Currently the Saints starting right defensive end is Will Smith, who’s base salary is a bloated $7 million, the highest of any player on the roster not named Drew Brees.

He is certainly a candidate for release given his cap number, overall low production, and not to mention the Saints need for money as they attempt re-sign Drew Brees to what is sure to be a mega-contract.

New Orleans is also hoping they can retain wide receiver Marques Colston and guard Carl Nicks.

If the Saints do release Smith then Abraham becomes a viable, although short term, replacement to him on the right side of the defensive line which instantly upgrades the pass rush — if the price is right.