The Falcons agreed to terms with defensive end John Abraham on a three-year contract on Friday.
Abraham, who turns 34 in May, has been the team’s top sacker since being acquired in a trade in 2006. He currently has 112 career sacks, 58.5 in six seasons with the Falcons.
He had 9.5 sacks last season.
The negotiations for Abraham to return were bumpy. The Falcons met with Abraham’s agent Rich Rosa in Indianapolis during the NFL scouting combine.
Two days earlier, Abraham, was a guest on the “2 Live Stews” radio show on 790 The Zone, sounded like he wanted to be paid “12 [million dollars]-plus” per season. Later, on his twitter account, he contended that he just wanted to get paid what he was worth.
Abraham wanted to stay with the Falcons all along. He had attracted some interest from Denver and Tennessee.
“I don’t want to go nowhere,” Abraham said. “I love Atlanta.”
Those initial discussions did not go well and Abraham became a free agent on Tuesday, when the NFL’s new business year started.
The Falcons wanted a deal that protected them if Abraham’s play slips. Abraham, who was on a snap count last season after suffering a groin injury against Philadelphia in the second game of the season, believes he’s playing at a high level.
Abraham’s numbers have not dipped. In his first three years with the Falcons he had 30.5 sacks. Over the past three seasons he had 28. Also, he has forced 17 fumbles during his stint with the Falcons.
Abraham said that he wanted to play another three seasons and this contract could allow him to achieve that goal.
Abraham was originally selected by the New York Jets in the first round (13th overall) of the 2000 NFL draft. He was acquired by the Falcons in exchange for a first round draft choice in a 2006 trade.
In 12 seasons, he has totaled 549 tackles (401 solo) with 112.0 sacks, 38 forced fumbles, six fumble recoveries, 19 passes defensed and one interception. Since sacks became an official statistic in 1982, Abraham’s 112.0 sacks rank 16th in NFL history.
He is also the NFL’s active sack leader.
Last season, Abraham had 31 tackles (24 solo) with 9.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.
His 58.5 sacks ranks tied with Chuck Smith (1992-98) for second in franchise history.
He set a franchise record for most sacks in a single-season with 16.5 in 2008, topping Joel Williams who posted 16.0 in 1980.
–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog