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Atlanta Falcons Free Agency:

The Return Of John Abraham

And Zero Cap Space

by Alexander Shirkey • Mar

17, 2012 12:00 PM EDT

After two days of complete

silence from the Falcons front

office, Falcons fans can finally

relax now that Atlanta has

their pass rusher back in the

building.

While the team's chance at

landing prized free agent

Mario Williams was pretty

slim from the start, the

Falcons have re-signed the

NFC South's most feared pass

rusher in John Abraham.

Playing under a new three-

year, $21M deal, the Predator

will likely retire an Atlanta

Falcon and definitely rank as

one of the best players in

franchise history.

But how does this effect any

further free agency plans the

Falcons might have?

Spreadsheet update coming

your way:

It was pretty much a no-

brainer: the Falcons

desperately needed a pass-

rusher, and with Williams

gone to Buffalo Abraham was

by far the best and most

proven defensive end on the

market. The team knows

exactly what they're going to

get from Abraham, and

what's more they got him for

significantly less than he

originally demanded.

While I'd be really surprised if

he's still putting up double-

digit sacks three years, there's

no doubt Abe is still an elite

edge rusher in the NFL. As

Pro Football Focus aptly

points out:

"Smart move resigning John

Abraham by the Falcons.

Over last 4 years he's

generated 2nd highest % of

pressure per snap in NFL."

As for the rest of free agency,

it's possible Atlanta still tries

to sign another veteran

offensive lineman to a cheap

deal. While rumors were

surfacing that former

Chargers tackle Marcus

McNeill had a visit planned

with the Falcons, Jeff Schultz

of the AJC reported that no

such visit was yet scheduled.

But considering that Todd

McClure still remains

unsigned, I believe at the very

least we see the team bring in

a free agent center to

compete with Joe Hawley for

the starting job. There's still

plenty of talent, including

recently released starters

Jamaal Jackson and Jeff

Faine.

Finally, where do the Falcons

stand on salary cap space?

According to Mike Florio's

count the Falcons had about

$6M in cap room before the

Abraham signing. Essentially,

the Falcons no longer have

any cap space.

Of course, if the Falcons

wanted to get creative they

could certainly create some

room by restructuring a few

contracts or possibly

releasing a starter or two.

Sam Baker ($2M salary) and

Ovie Mughelli ($3M salary)

are two names that have

popped up quite a bit.

Regardless, the Falcons have

made their move. Far better

than nothing, am I right?

For more on the Falcons,

check out The Falcoholic. For

everything else free agency-

related, head over to SB

Nation's NFL hub page

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Do you have a guesstimate on where we stand after signing Abe?

I'm guessing maybe 2 or 3 million available at most (and that would take a pretty wild structure to get there) right now. I don't have any details to base that on other than the $6 million prior to Abe and figuring out ways that deal might be structured.

I'm looking for more contract details though daily...

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