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John Abraham signing: What will his role be, and how productive will he be?

With a two--year deal, he could be more than a situational guy.


The buzz that has been going around regarding John Abraham signing a two-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals has been that he will be used as a situational pass rusher.

However, then the news came out that he was going to get two years for about $6 million.

Situational pass rusher?

Let's take a look. Karlos Dansby was signed by the Cardinals and is expected to start. He is making $2.5 million...on a one-year contract. Eric Winston, considered a very good right tackle? One year for the league minimum, and he will more than likely be the starting right tackle.

It sounds like Abraham will be more than just a token pass rusher.

In 2012, he played over 70 percent of the defensive plays for the Falcons. Plus, look at the OLB lineup for the Cards. They have Sam Acho, Alex Okafor (a rookie) and Lorenzo Alexander (never been a starter...and never an outside linebacker). Who do you want on the field more? Abraham is the answer by far.

The question remains, though. At age 35, will he be Kevin Greene, will he be Bertrand Berry or will he be Joey Porter?

It wasn't a perfect search, but I looked up some well known pass rusher names and how they did at around age 35.

Believe it or not, most are done by that age and those that do play are not super productive.

Cardinals fans know this all too well. After 17.5 sacks in 2008 and nine sacks in 2009 for the Miami Dolphins, Joey Porter got a three-year, $17.5 million contract from the Cards. He was a shell of himself after that. He played a lot in 2010 (99 percent of the defensive plays), but logged only five sacks and six over two seasons. He was 32 when the Cards signed him.

Some may point to the Bertand Berry signing way back when. He was the last Cardinals player to log at least 10 sacks. He had 14.5 in 2004. He was 29 -- not 35. Berry retired at age 34, after a six sack season, playing a little less than half of the defensive plays.

Two pass rushers that had good production were Jason Taylor and Kevin Greene. Taylor joined the Dolphins at age 35 and had seven sacks. Then, after season with the Jets, he returned to Miami at age 37 and had seven more sacks. Greene was fantastic. He joined the Panthers in 1996 at age 34 and had 14.5 sacks. The next season he was in San Francisco. He had 10.5 sacks. Then he returned to the Panthers for two more seasons -- 15 and 12 sacks at age 36 and 37.

Abraham was a fantastically productive player for the Falcons in 2012, getting 10 sacks and forcing six fumbles.

If the Cardinals are getting who they hoped, they will get a very productive player. But we know about Joey Porter. Could Abraham see his production fall drastically? Certainly.

Now, there is a big difference between three years, $17.5 million and two years, $6 million. At that price, it is certainly worth the risk.

Will he be just a situational pass rusher? I don't think that will be the case until someone outplays him. With the team's personnel at the position, that might take a little while.

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