Curtis Lofton and John Abraham are both stalwarts of Atlanta’s defense, but as free agency approaches, the Falcons seem willing to let both of them walk.
The Falcons are widely expected to use the franchise tag to keep one soon-to-be free agent, cornerback Brent Grimes. But Lofton and Abraham are also soon-to-be free agents, and the Falcons aren’t planning to overpay to keep either one of them.
Mark Bradley of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the Falcons won’t be crushed if Lofton leaves because many within the Falcons organization believe that Lofton is a liability against the pass. That doesn’t mean the Falcons won’t make any effort to re-sign Lofton, but it sounds like the Falcons are going to be willing to let Lofton test the market, and if some team offers him more than the Falcons think he’s worth, they’ll say goodbye and put Akeem Dent, a third-round draft pick last year who played in all 16 games as a rookie, in the middle linebacker spot.
As for Abraham, who has led the team in sacks for two straight years, the Falcons apparently think he’s too one-dimensional and, at 33, too old. Abraham will apparently need to see if some other team wants a situational pass rusher who turns 34 in May.
For the Falcons, who traded away this year’s first-round draft pick as part of the deal to acquire Julio Jones last year, free agency will be their best chance to improve the roster. But at the moment, the talk in Atlanta is more about which free agents the Falcons will be losing.