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?