Saints free agent report card: Was Johnathan Abram a good veteran signing?

The New Orleans Saints defense had an up-and-down season in 2023, but they found some smooth sailing in the latter half of the season. A lot of that had to do with some veterans stepping up and performing well

One of the players that broke out in the second half of the season was veteran safety Johnathan Abram, who spent the first half of the year on the practice squad.

To wrap up the series for last season’s most impactful free agent signings (we previously discussed Foster Moreau, Jamaal Williams, Nathan Shepherd, and Khalen Saunders), here is Abram’s 2023 report card:

Free agent contract

Abram signed a one-year deal last season valued at $1.16 million. He is no longer under contract with the Saints, but could be brought back with a little bit of a raise if the team was happy with his performance.

Snap counts

It wasn’t the most active season of his career, as he was previously a starter in Las Vegas, but Abram did carve out a role for himself in the latter half of the season after Marcus Maye got hurt. Overall, Abram played about 35% of the defensive snaps (208). He also spent a lot of time on special teams, playing on 47% of snaps (114).

Abram played two games in the first half of the season, with one start in week four. He then played in the last six games of the season, starting the last two games.

Season stats

Through the first 12 games of the season, Abram only played in two games and combined for 8 total tackles.

Once the team lost Marcus Maye, Abram slowly started to pick up more snaps. He was featured heavily in the final two games of the season. Overall, Abram had 26 tackles this year. He also had one tackle for a loss and one interceptions

Season recap, future outlook

Abram was a veteran safety signing that played a larger role off the field than he did on the field for most of the season. The team and other defensive backs responded well to him to end the season. He played 100% of the snaps in the final two wins of the season and racked up 14 tackles and an interception between those two games. It was a near perfect end to the season for him after that quiet start.

I think it would be smart for both sides to reach an agreement to bring him back for another contract. He’s still not too old but does have a more veteran presence that he brings. He’s a solid special teamer than can step up on defense if his name gets called.

Report card grade

While he didn’t have some major impact on the outcome of this season, success for him is relative. He was brought in on a minimum contract to play more of a behind the scenes role. When he was asked to play defense and special teams he even made some nice plays.

This season was more about getting his career on track than trying to make an All-Pro team, especially after the rocky start to things out of college. I think it was a successful signing for both he and the team, just not one that stood out much on paper.

Grade: B

Story originally appeared on Saints Wire