SEATTLE — Looking for an answer to the team’s pass-rush woes, the Seattle Seahawks may have found part of that solution in edge rusher John Abraham.
Abraham, who turns 35 in May, is scheduled to meet with Seattle brass today. The defensive end, who finished his seventh season with the Atlanta Falcons in 2012, had 10 sacks and six forced fumbles last season. He would provide insurance in case Chris Clemons, Seattle’s leader in sacks the past three seasons, is not ready for training camp at the end of July. Clemons injured his knee at Washington in the NFC wild-card game and had reconstructive surgery on his anterior cruciate ligament in January.
Signing Abraham could take pressure off 2012 first-round draft pick Bruce Irvin, allowing him to develop into an every-down player in Clemons’ absence. Irvin struggled in filling that role in Seattle’s NFC divisional playoff loss at Atlanta, finishing with one tackle and no sacks against the Falcons.
Seahawks general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll made a similar move in free agency three years ago by signing veteran pass rusher Raheem Brock. It paid off with Brock notching nine sacks during Seattle’s NFC playoff run in 2010.
Abraham signed a three-year, $16.72 million deal to stay in Atlanta last March. He was to be paid $4.25 million in base salary this year and $3.25 million in 2014, but the Falcons released him to save money under their salary cap.
Since 2010, Abraham has 32.5 sacks, which is No. 8 in the NFL in that span. Clemons is tied for No. 6 in the league in that period with 33.5 sacks.
The question for Seattle will be whether Abraham can serve as an every-down defensive end, similar to Clemons. Abraham played nearly 72 percent of Atlanta’s defensive snaps in 2012, according to ESPN Stats and Information Group.
With the league year and the start of free agency set for Tuesday, the NFL established a new, three-day negotiating window during which free agents may initiate contract talks with teams starting at 9 p.m. today. Teams can’t talk to players still attached to other teams, schedule visits or execute deals until Tuesday.
Those restrictions to not apply if the Seahawks want to sign Abraham, because he was released by Atlanta.