John Abraham

Poll: Fate Of Three Big-Name Pass Rushers?

Between the three of them, they have accumulated 330 sacks over the course of 15 years. At different points in their careers, they were among the most-feared pass rushers in the league. But now, Dwight Freeney, 35, John Abraham, 37, and Osi Umenyiora, 33, are nearing the end of the line, and if they get another contract, it will probably be their last.

That is not to say that they have nothing left to offer. In his excellent profile of Freeney two months ago, PFR’s Dallas Robinson explained how the long-time Colt was able to effectively disrupt the passing game in 2014, his only full season with the Chargers. As Robinson wrote, Freeney did not post gaudy sack totals in San Diego, but he placed third among qualifying 3-4 OLBs with 40 quarterback hurries, and 14th with nine QB hits. Furthermore, Freeney has experience both with his hand in the ground and standing up, so he would not be limited to any one scheme.

Abraham, meanwhile, lost his 2014 season due to concussion-related issues, and doctors told him last September that he should sit out for at least a year. Our Luke Adams wrote at that time that Abraham was most likely headed towards retirement, but he did post 11.5 sacks for the Cardinals in 2013–earning his fifth Pro Bowl nod in the process–and he is consistently mentioned as an option for teams that may find themselves in need of a situational pass rusher as we get closer to the start of the regular season. So until Abraham officially calls it a career, we will continue to hear his name bandied about.

Umenyiora, the youngest of the group, recorded a mere 2.5 sacks in 16 games for the Falcons last year, and has not put up double-digit sacks since 2010. However, he did get 26 quarterback hurries and 6 quarterback hits in just 347 snaps, so it is clear he can still be effective in a situational role. Despite his limited playing time, he did rate as the 22nd-best 4-3 defensive end out of 59 eligible players, according to Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics (subscription required).

All of the above players, assuming they do not retire, are in line for a one-year deal with limited value. They will be called upon if a team suffers an injury to one of its pass rushers in training camp, or if a younger edge rusher fails to live up to expectations. And as they have shown, they can provide a boost to a club’s pass rushing game if deployed appropriately. They may not be the players they once were, but they may have enough left in the tank to help a contender get over the hump in 2015.

So what say you? Which of the three players above is most likely to suit up for an NFL team this season?

Cardinals Place John Abraham On IR

4:18pm: Head coach Bruce Arians indicated today that doctors told Abraham to sit out for a year after his most recent concussion test, tweets Urban. At this point, it seems likely that the linebacker is headed toward retirement, though no official decision has been made yet on that front.

11:29am: Just days after he returned to the club following a brief hiatus, veteran linebacker John Abraham has been placed on injured reserve by the Cardinals due to concussion-related issues, reports Adam Schefter of (via Twitter). According to Darren Urban of (via Twitter), the team has re-signed punter Drew Butler to take Abraham’s roster spot.

Abraham, 36, suffered a concussion during Arizona’s Week 1 game against the Chargers, and took some time away from the team to consider the possibility of retiring. At that time, Schefter reported that Abraham had been suffering from memory loss during the last year, so it was somewhat surprising when the linebacker returned to the Cardinals this week.

Despite rejoining the club, Abraham didn’t pass concussion tests, so it makes sense that he and the team would make the decision to play it safe and shut him down for the year. Given the veteran’s health issues and age, it’s possible he has played his last NFL snap. Abraham, who is due a base salary of $3MM this season, is in the final year of his contract with the Cards.

The loss of Abraham is the latest blow to a Cardinals defense that has its handful of them so far this year. In addition to seeing linebacker Karlos Dansby head to Cleveland in free agency, the Cards also had defensive lineman Darnell Dockett go down with a season-ending ACL injury and linebacker Daryl Washington suspended for the entire 2014 season. We’ll have to wait to see if the Cardinals attempt to address their pass rush with an outside addition, or whether the club tries to get by with its current in-house options.

John Abraham To Return To Cardinals

Veteran linebacker John Abraham will return to the Cardinals this week, head coach Bruce Arians confirmed today, according to Josh Weinfuss of (via Twitter). Abraham suffered a concussion during the team’s Week 1 game against the Chargers, and had left the team for several days while he reportedly considered retirement.

While Abraham will report back to the team, it’s not clear whether he’ll participate in practices right away, or if he’ll suit up this coming Sunday. He’ll have to pass the league’s concussion protocol, and Adam Schefter of reported last week that the 36-year-old was suffering from memory loss and had been for more than a year. Still, if he’s healthy and able to return to the field, Abraham should help improve a Cardinals pass rush that was a little lacking in his absence.

Because the Cardinals received a roster exemption during Abraham’s stint away from the team, and were able to place him on a reserve list, the team will have to remove someone from its 53-man roster in order to make him active again. I’d expect Arizona to announce that corresponding move later today.

NFC Notes: Abraham, Hardy, Lawson, Lions

As we heard when John Abraham left the Cardinals last week, Arizona’s roster exemption means the veteran defender has five days to rejoin the team or else he won’t be eligible to play this season. So it makes sense that GM Steve Keim said this morning that the club expects a decision from Abraham within “the next 24 hours,” as Darren Urban of details. If Abraham does decide to retire due to health problems, it may prompt the Cards to explore the free agent market, or perhaps promote a player from their practice squad, for pass-rushing help.

Here’s more from around the NFC:

  • While the Panthers are under scrutiny about how to handle defensive end Greg Hardy in the wake of his domestic violence incident, head coach Ron Rivera said today that the club hasn’t considered releasing him, according to Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer (via Twitter).
  • The Lions may be sending yet another cornerback to the injured reserve list, according to head coach Jim Caldwell, who indicated to reporters that he wouldn’t expect Nevin Lawson to return this season (link via Michael Rothstein of Lawson, who suffered discloated toes in his left foot yesterday, could be replaced by an outside free agent or practice-squad player Mohammed Seisay, says Caldwell.
  • Caldwell also confirmed in his conversation with reporters, including Tim Twentyman of (Twitter link), that while he thinks Nate Freese is going to be a good NFL kicker, the Lions are considering all their options at kicker after some early-season misses by the rookie.
  • Jason Fitzgerald of Over The Cap takes a look at some players whose contract values increased or decreased based on this weekend’s games. In Fitzgerald’s view, DeMarco Murray and Ryan Kerrigan were among the players whose stock improved, while Robert Griffin III‘s potential for a big contract extension was diminished by his latest injury.

NFC Notes: Hardy, Palmer, Abraham, Rams

The Panthers have deactivated defensive end Greg Hardy for today’s game, reports Ed Werder of ESPN (Twitter link). Hardy is embroiled in a domestic violence case, and given the response to the Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson incidents, it appears as though Carolina decided to heed public sentiment and not allow Hardy to play. The move is a little surprising, as the Panthers had insisted all week that Hardy would be active. Meanwhile, it seems the 49ers will allow Ray McDonald, also accused of domestic assault, to play tonight. Here’s more from the NFC.

  • As he continues to recover from a shoulder injury, Carson Palmer will not play in today’s game against the Giants, according to Ian Rapoport of (via Twitter). Backup Drew Stanton for the Cardinals. Stanton, 30, has not attempted a pass in four years, but as Robert Raiola notes (Twitter link), Stanton has earned $12.225MM since 2011.
  • John Abraham will not make a decision on retirement until the weekend is over, reports Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic. The Cardinals currently have a roster exemption for Abraham; if he doesn’t return to the team by Tuesday, he will ineligible for the rest of the year.
  • The Rams have $32.5MM tied up in players on injured reserve, tweets Jason Fitzgerald of Over the Cap. The Chiefs are second in that regard, at $12.7MM. In a separate piece, Fitzgerald looks at which teams have lost the most cap space to IR and dead money combined, a list that the Rams once again top.

Extra Points: Abraham, Hardy, Polamalu, Rams

Cardinals coach Bruce Arians told SiriusXM that reports of John Abraham suffering from memory loss was “news to him” and the issue wasn’t discussed during their recent conversation, according to Alex Marvez of FOX Sports 1 (on Twitter). Abraham, who has more career sacks than Lawrence Taylor and is ninth on the all-time sacks leaderboard, has left the Cardinals and may never play again. More from around the NFL..

  • Even though his alleged actions took place before the NFL put the new domestic violence discipline policy in place, Roger Goodell says Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy will be subject to the new policy, writes Will Brinson of The same applies to 49ers defensive end Ray McDonald.
  • Troy Polamalu and the Steelers have had a very productive relationship together and it almost didn’t happen, as Jason La Canfora of writes. In the offseason prior to the 2003 season, the Steelers had their sights set on Super Bowl MVP Dexter Jackson. When the Cardinals, of all teams, got to him first, the Steelers turned their attention to the draft and plucked Polamalu with the No. 16 pick.
  • While the Rams are equipped with talented backups like William Hayes and Eugene Sims, the loss of Chris Long means that they’re without their top leader, writes Nick Wagoner of Long was placed on the injured reserve with a designation to return earlier today.
  • Jets coach Rex Ryan said today that he took Calvin Pryor in this year’s draft over Packers safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix because the Louisville product can “knock your face in.” Clinton-Dix, meanwhile, wants it to be known that he can bring the pain as well and plans to show it. “No doubt and you’re going to see it. Week in and week out, as I get my chance to come up and make those big hits, it will happen. That time will come,” the Green Bay rookie said, according to’s Rob Demovsky.

John Abraham’s NFL Career In Jeopardy

After suffering a concussion during Monday night’s game against the Chargers, linebacker John Abraham has left the Cardinals, possibly for good, reports Adam Schefter of (Twitter links). According to Schefter, Abraham is suffering from memory loss and has been for more than a year. Following his most recent concussion, the 36-year-old may not play in another NFL game.

Abraham, a Pro Bowler for Arizona last season, was late reporting to camp this year because he was reportedly in rehab after facing a DUI charge earlier in the offseason. There’s not necessarily a correlation between that incident and his reported memory loss, but the personal and health issues Abraham has faced within the last few weeks make it clear that football should be a secondary concern at the moment.

According to Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic (Twitter links), the Cardinals have received a roster exemption for Abraham, who will be replaced on the 53-man roster by Marcus Benard. The team will place Abraham on the reserve list, and he’ll have five days to return to the team, or else he won’t be eligible to play this season.

Although Abraham’s health should be the most important consideration, it’s worth noting that his absence is another significant blow for a Cardinals defense that already has lost Darnell Dockett to a season-ending injury, Daryl Washington to a year-long suspension, and Karlos Dansby in free agency.

NFC West Notes: Cards, Abraham, Bowie

On the heels of Dan Pompei of Bleacher Report observing (via Twitter) that some people in Cardinals camp believe Michael Floyd will be the team’s No. 1 receiver, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk wonders if Arizona is already “detaching” from Larry Fitzgerald. An offseason contract restructure means Fitzgerald will carry a $23.6MM in 2015, meaning the Cardinals may be forced to part ways with the veteran wideout — such a move may be a little easier for the club to swallow if Floyd is truly on the verge of becoming a top option.

Here’s more on the Cards and a couple of their division rivals:

  • After being absent from training camp for nearly three weeks, veteran outside linebacker John Abraham reported to the Cardinals today, according to Josh Weinfuss of Arizona GM Steve Keim declined to comment on Wednesday about the reason for Abraham’s absence, which has so far been undisclosed.
  • Seahawks offensive line coach Tom Cable wasn’t overly pleased that the Browns – and multiple other teams – placed waiver claims on former Seattle lineman Michael Bowie when the ‘Hawks cut him with an injured designation earlier this month. Cable said on 710 ESPN Seattle on Wednesday (link via Brady Henderson of 710 ESPN Seattle) that it’s “kind of an unwritten rule” not to poach another team’s injured players when they pass through waivers. “Typically when you waive someone injured, they kind of get through and you’re going to get them back, fix them and move on,” Cable said. “Cleveland chose to take him, and whether you agree with it or not, I guess that’s business.”
  • Colin Kaepernick‘s extension with the 49ers is one recent example of how teams continue to have all the long-term leverage in contract talks, with players continuing to cede control, writes former Packers executive Andrew Brandt of

NFC West Notes: Witherspoon, Starks, Abraham

Though he has yet to officially retire, linebacker Will Witherspoon is taking steps in that direction, as Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports (on Twitter) that Witherspoon has taken a job as the Rams‘ radio sideline reporter. Witherspoon, 33, is a veteran of 12 NFL seasons, having spent time with the Panthers, Rams, Eagles, and Titans. He reportedly engaged in contract talks with both the Rams and the Falcons earlier in the offseason, but it looks as if he’ll get started on his media career rather than continue as a player.

More from the NFC West:

  • After the 49ers drafted Marcus Martin in the third round, some figured he might get a chance to challenge Daniel Kilgore for the right to replace Jonathan Goodwin as San Francisco’s center. But, as Matt Maiocco of writes, Martin’s sprained ankle has disallowed him from even practicing, let alone acting as a serious threat to Kilgore.
  • Newly-signed Cardinals tackle Max Starks is excited to be reunited with head Bruce Arians’ familiar playbook, according to Josh Weinfuss of “All the terminology seems to be the old terminology, so it’s starting to click again,” said Stark, who played under Arians’ coordination with the Steelers. “Obviously it’s been two years since I was with [Arians] so just getting used to that lingo and getting that going.”
  • Per Weinfuss on Twitter, Starks has already begun working with the second-team offense at Cardinals camp, supplanting Bradley Sowell.
  • The Cardinals expect veteran linebacker John Abraham, who is sorting through legal issues, to report to camp “within five or six days,” Arians told reporters, including Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic.
  • Undrafted linebacker Shayne Skov, who played under Jim Harbaugh at Stanford, is impressing at 49ers camp, writes Bill Williamson of

John Abraham Arrested For DUI Last Month

Cardinals linebacker John Abraham was arrested for DUI in Atlanta last month, writes Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic. Abraham was absent for the third straight day of training camp today, and he did not report for the team’s conditioning test on Friday. At that time, head coach Bruce Arians noted that Abraham was excused for “personal reasons” but would not elaborate further. It is unknown whether Abraham’s DUI arrest is related to his absence from camp.

This is not Abraham’s first brush with the law. In October 2003, while with the Jets, he was charged with DUI after crashing his vehicle into a fire hydrant and light pole in Long Island. He ultimately pled guilty to the lesser included charge of DWI and avoided jail time. He was also arrested for two counts of misdemeanor obstruction several years ago–in Atlanta–when he failed to leave an area that had been blocked off by police.

Abraham, a five-time Pro Bowler and two-time All Pro, picked up 11.5 sacks for the Cardinals last season, his first in Arizona after spending six years with the Jets and seven years with the Falcons. His pass rushing ability was a critical component of the Cardinals’ resurgent defense, rated by Football Outsiders as the second best unit in the league last season. If he is convicted of the DUI, or a related count, he would of course face a fine or suspension. Given that he already has an alcohol-related conviction from the 2003 incident, a suspension may be more likely.

Cardinals’ GM Steve Keim stated earlier this morning that he was unconcerned with Abraham’s absence from camp and noted that he expected the linebacker to report “at some point.”