Kevin C. Cox
I'm on record believing that John Abraham won't be released this off-season, but we have to at least consider the possibility.
Abe has been nothing short of a miracle worker as the Falcons' best pass rusher over the last six seasons. He's compiled 64.5 sacks over that span, a total that outpaces everyone else on the team by a good margin. Abe's 10 sacks in 2012 were more than a third of the team's total, which is simultaneously miraculous and disheartening.
The problem is that the 35-year-old Abraham carries a $4.25 million cap hit for 2013. The Falcons need all the money they can get, and they have to be wary of giving an aging player significant money when the end could be coming at any moment. While I certainly don't want them to part ways with Abe, it's a possibility.
If you're doing this, you more or less have to acquire one of the veteran pass rushers on the open market. That might be Paul Kruger, it might be Cliff Avril, or it might even be Dwight Freeney. Letting Abe go and expected to sail by with the players currently on the team would be beyond foolish, and I don't think that's something the Falcons can talk themselves into.
If the Falcons cut Abe, in other words, they'll need to pick up at least one quality pass rusher and probably at least two in order to replace his production. You may not be able to do that with $4.25 million, but combined with other players like Michael Turner getting the axe, it's possible.
I'd certainly miss him if he was gone. What do you think?