Some things are more important than others in life and the same can be made for positions on a football field. Simply put, some positions are more important than others.
Everyone should agree that quarterback is the most important position. Then you have the protector of the quarterback, which is the left tackle. While all other positions on the offense are also important, you can make a case that these two are the most important. Just look at what the best quarterbacks and left tackles make per season in comparison to some of the other “less” important positions, although you can make a valid argument that the big play wide receivers are right up there, too.
Defensively, in the NFL today you need to get to the quarterback and be able to cover his receivers. The men who can generate consistent pressure and get the sacks are paid handsomely. The same applies to the shut down type of corners. While I’m not going to argue that the run stuffing interior defensive linemen aren’t important, it’s interesting to see how they are valued by teams in terms of compensation and it’s quite clear who has been shown the money.
If you are a team who can realistically dream of playing in the Super Bowl in New Jersey next year and if you have a need to improve your pass rush, you should consider John Abraham. Even if you have a decent pass rush, it could always be better. Coaches always talk about how you can never have too many good pass rushers so if you have the salary cap space available, then Abraham should be a target.
If you are a general manager who must win in 2013 or lose your job, you should also consider Abraham.
Abraham has played in at least 15 games per season since 2007. His lowest season sack total in the past three years is when he recorded “only” 9.5 in 2011. He has also recorded at least 9.5 sacks in nine of the past 12 years.
While he will be 35 years of age when the season starts, he shows no immediate signs of slowing down. On one hand, I can see why some teams would be hesitant to sign Abraham due to his age.
On the other hand, how often is there a proven sack machine available in free agency who will not require a long term contract for megabucks? While a 27-year-old Paul Kruger was able to turn his nine sack season into over $40 million in five years you won’t have to break the bank with Abraham in terms of years and dollars per season.
If you’re a team on the cusp of a potentially Super season then signing Abraham makes sense.
One team that immediately comes to mind is the Seattle Seahawks. One can say they have made valuable additions by signing players such as Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett and Tony McDaniel, but you can also question if those additions improve them for 2013, since they have lost Jason Jones, Alan Branch and potentially Chris Clemons. After suffering an ACL tear in January you can legitimately question if Clemons will be able to play at a high level when he does return to action. If he can’t, the Seahawks won’t have sufficiently upgraded its pass rush which was the weak link on the team last year, too.
If you’re someone who needs to win this upcoming season to save his job, it should be a no-brainer to have Abraham on your radar. If I were Jim Schwartz of the Detroit Lions, I would push my superiors hard for Abraham.
The Lions definitely have some superior star power at several key positions, but if Schwartz suffers through another campaign like he did in 2012, then it will be someone different who will coach Matthew Stafford and superstars like Calvin Johnson and Ndamukong Suh in 2014. The Lions are a 4-12 team who could easily challenge for the Super Bowl if they can add a few missing pieces. Schwartz is also one sub par season from seeking employment elsewhere. A high quality performer like Abraham at a discounted price would make sense, and potentially years, for Schwartz as well.
Whoever signs Abraham for 2013 will have gotten a good bang for their buck when it’s all said and done.