The team's only pass rusher is going nowhere.
D. Orlando Ledbetter does a little bit of roster prognostication in one of his latest articles. It's that time of year where we all make off-the-wall guesses, and I generally let them pass without comment.
This time, though, DOL makes a suggestion and the headline of the piece goes one step further than that. The suggestion is that the Falcons cut John Abraham, which makes sense from a pure cap relief sense. You could save about $5 million by cutting ties with Abe this off-season, money that could go toward younger players. It wouldn't be totally illogical...if we weren't talking about John Abraham.
The Falcons have basically had one player over the last half decade capable of getting after the quarterback, as torgo3000 noted in his FanPost recently, and that player has been Abraham. Last year, he accounted for more than a third of the team's sacks. The next closest sack "master?" Kroy Biermann, with four. If you take away Abraham, you inevitably have a weaker pass rush.
This is true even as Abe's ability to play full games and stop the run erodes. To replace him successfully, the Falcons would need to spend a draft pick or two and get a free agent pass rusher with some skills. That could cost them a lot more than Abe would, and short of getting a borderline elite player, it's probably not worth it.
There's no doubt that the Falcons need more cap space. There's no doubt that there are veterans on this team who could be cut to save the team anywhere from $3 to $5 million, and those options should be explored. But everyone clamoring for those releases should weigh how useful those players still are. It's not worth saving a few million bucks if you're actually going to get worse at a position.
To be clear, I don't think DOL is necessarily endorsing this move, just bringing it up. It's also not completely impossible. Unless the Falcons are bringing aboard a pass rusher and drafting another, though, it's entirely illogical. I doubt it happens.
Let's call it a night