Atlanta Falcons Re-Sign DE John Abraham: Fan’s Take

Coming into the offseason, the Atlanta Falcons understood that they had a lot of work ahead of them. Four defensive starters were free agents and the likelihood of all four returning was small. The team franchised cornerback Brent Grimes and re-signed safety Thomas DeCoud, leaving linebacker Curtis Lofton and defensive end John Abraham as the final two free agent starters. On March 16, that list dropped to one, as Abraham signed a new contract to remain a Falcon.

Abraham has played the last six of his 12 professional seasons in Atlanta and has accumulated 112 sacks during his career. During his first six seasons in the league as a New York Jet, he often struggled to stay on the field due to injuries, but still amassed 53.5 sacks in 73 total games. In 86 games (82 starts) as a Falcon, he has recorded 58.5 sacks, 18 forced fumbles and 177 tackles.

A year ago, the 6-4, 263 pound lineman led the team with 9.5 sacks, more than doubling the total of any other Falcon defender. There was a lot of talk about whether the Falcons would want to pay Abraham what he wanted to get paid ($12 million) and the fans attacked the former All-Pro because of it.

Cooler heads eventually prevailed and the two sides agreed to a new three-year deal.

This deal signals that the Falcons weren't lying about not over-reaching with free agency. Abraham's return, coupled with the returning Ray Edwards (who was signed last offseason) means the Falcons have a great defensive front.

With the signing of linebacker Lofa Tatupu, Abraham's new contract could signal the end of Lofton's tenure with the team. Lofton has played all four of his professional seasons with the Falcons after being drafted out of Oklahoma. He has been one of the most important players on the defense since coming into the league, but there may not be enough money for the team to bring him back.

The team should be fine at linebacker considering their depth, but the loss of Lofton will still hurt. The one piece of good news is at least the team was able to bring in a replacement and Abraham was brought back to keep the defensive line strong.

For a look at season recaps for the Atlanta Falcons, go here for easier access.

More from this contributor:

Randy Moss to San Francisco

Falcons re-sign Thomas DeCoud

Brent Grimes Franchised by Falcons

John Abraham's run with Atlanta Falcons

Rob Parker Rips City of Atlanta

Hobson Lopes is a fan of the Atlanta Falcons, thanks to Deion Sanders and can be followed on Twitter @HobsonLopes.

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Updated Friday, Mar 16, 2012