Heading into free agency this spring, defensive end John Abraham expected a $12 million annual salary on the open market. He ended up signing a three-year, $16.72 million deal in March to remain with the Atlanta Falcons.
You don't need to be a math nerd to know that's not pretty. His new deal includes a $2.25 million signing bonus (nice), but just $1.5 million in 2012 base salary (not so much). Apparently in the world of free-agent pass rushers, you're either Mario Williams or you're JAG ... just another guy.
"I wanted to be here," Abraham said this week of his Falcons return, according to The Associated Press. "Money wasn't really a factor."
Don't believe that for a second, but Abraham, 34, may have ended up in the best place to continue his career. He's reunited with Mike Nolan, the new Falcons defensive coordinator who was Abraham's first coordinator when he came into the league with the New York Jets in 2000.
"That was one of my main reasons for coming back also," Abraham said. "I know what kind of coach he is. I know what kind of guy he is. They do a great job of bringing people around who have great character and are great coaches."
Retaining Abraham was a wise move after the team lost linebacker and leading tackler Curtis Lofton to the New Orleans Saints. Abraham might not be the same threat he was earlier in the career -- which really makes you wonder how he thought he was going to get all that free-agent money -- but he can still get to the quarterback.
There will always be a home for a guy who can do that.