Should John Abraham’s Stay in Atlanta Continue Through 2012? a Fan’s Take

When the Atlanta Falcons acquired John Abraham from the New York Jets prior to the 2006 season, it was believed that he would become an anchor for the defense. In six seasons as a Jet, he recorded 53.5 sacks and was one of the most feared defensive ends in the National Football League. Six years later, he surpassed his sacks total from the Jets with Atlanta, recording 58.5. He even joined the 100-sack club in a game against the New Orleans Saints in late 2010, taking down Drew Brees for the mark.

After the Falcons lost their opening round game of the playoffs for the 2011 season to the New York Giants, Abraham's contract was officially up. At 33-years-old, the product of South Carolina would be entering his 13th NFL season, but doubts remain about whether he is in the future plans for the team. The organization may be looking for veteran players to point the blame on, and Abraham's name is one often heard about when watching the preview shows each week. If his Atlanta playing career is over, where does he stand in the mind of one Falcon fan? Can he still be an impact player and prove all his doubters wrong?

In 2011, Abraham recorded 9.5 sacks during the regular season, but it's well documented that he recorded the majority of those sacks against less than stellar quarterbacks. Blaine Gabbert (3.5), Josh Freeman (one), T.J. Yates (one), Jake Locker (one), Jay Cutler (two) and Matthew Stafford (one) were all sacked by Abraham, but just one played for a team that reached the postseason. This wasn't a problem he had in year's past. In 2010, he recorded 13 sacks, including some of the top quarterbacks in the league like Brees, Matt Hasselbeck, Carson Palmer and Joe Flacco.

To say that Abraham is past his prime after a subpar 2011 would be a ridiculous statement. He had a great run with the Falcons and has had a solid career thus far. The Falcons would be wise to bring him back to help establish their defense more. I doubt he gets a deal longer than two to three years, but keeping him on the other side of Ray Edwards would be in their best interest. Edwards struggled in his first season with the team and could struggle more without Abraham. At this point in his career, Abraham may not be able to get 16.5 sacks in a season anymore, but not many players can anyway.

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

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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 Wednesday, Jan 11, 2012