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Jeff Schultz

Posted: 1:58 p.m. Monday, June 24, 2013

As camp nears, Abraham could still help Falcons (UPDATED) 

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Abe
John Abraham, who led the Falcons with 10 sacks last season, remains a free agent.

By Jeff Schultz

The Falcons are a month away from the start of training camp. They are unlikely to make any additions to the roster at least until Matt Ryan’s contract extension is finalized -- which assumes it will be --  and may not even do so then.

But with lingering concerns about the depth on the offensive and defensive lines – at least in this corner of the blogosphere -- here are three veterans who remain available on the free agent market who could help them:

1. John Abraham, defensive end: I’m still puzzled why the Falcons made the decision to cut Abraham so quickly, given he has been by the the team’s most productive pass rusher by far. Acquiring Osi Umenyiora was a great move. But subtracting Abraham from the roster diminishes the overall impact of that move. It’s extremely unlikely the two sides are going to come to an agreement at this point – general manager Thomas Dimitroff said as much a few weeks ago – but I’ve seen worse contract situations between teams and players eventually reach a positive resolution. Abraham surprisingly is still out there, but teams apparently are waiting for him to drop his asking price. Denver remembers a possible landing site.

2. Eric Winston, right tackle: The release of Tyson Clabo reaffirmed the team’s desire to cut salary up and go younger and cheaper. It remains to be seen how much cap room will be left after the Ryan deal and other moves in training camp but the presumption is Winston’s price has come way down since being released by Kansas City. He has not missed a start in the last six seasons with Houston and K.C. The Falcons right now probably are looking at Lamar Holmes or Mike Johnson at right tackle. If there is one thing that should make you feel uncomfortable, it's an open competition for a starting job on the offensive line in training camp.

3. Desmond Bishop, inside linebacker: After getting released by Green Bay, the expectation is that Bishop, who says he has recovered from a hamstring injury, will sign with the New York Giants, Minnesota or Kansas City. The Falcons’ current depth chart has Akeem Dent as the starter in a 4-3 alignment. Given the evolution of NFL offenses and the increasing number of plays that a team plays a “nickel” alignment with only two linebackers, the Falcons have opted to go thin at that position. That's what led to them parting ways with Curtis Lofton last year. But Bishop had 95 tackles and five sacks two years ago. If he's healthy, he can still play.

UPDATED 2:55 p.m.: So much for that idea. Bishop has agreed to a contract with Minnesota, via NFL.com's Ian Rapoport.


Not included on this top three: defensive tackle Richard Seymour. The Falcons have considered bringing him in, but put that on the backburner for now. The big question I have is what does Seymour have left? He will turn 34 in October and played only half of last season because of a hamstring injury. Is he a strong locker room presence? Absolutely. But can he still play? It will be interesting to see how this plays out when the Falcons go into camp.

Jeff Schultz

About Jeff Schultz

Jeff Schultz is a general sports columnist and blogger who isn't afraid to share his opinion, which may not necessarily jibe with yours.

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