Today the New England Patriots agreed to terms with former Jets and Falcons defensive end John Abraham to boost their pass rush dramatically. The deal has not actually been signed yet, but the team and Abraham have reached an agreement in principle as tweeted by reporter Erika Leigh. In Abraham’s 13 years in the NFL he has recorded 122 sacks, 44 forced fumbles, and 413 total tackles (ESPN). As Patriots fans saw, last year the pass rush was improved with the additions of Chandler Jones and Dont’a Hightower, but it still struggled at times. Abraham brings a veteran presence to the defense similar to that of Andre Carter when the Patriots signed him in 2011.
In addition to Abraham, ex-Colts star Dwight Freeny also visited the New England Patriots today, but no word has surfaced of contract talks. Since the Broncos effort to restructure Elvis Dumervil’s contract in order to keep him failed due to his agent not faxing the paperwork before the deadline, one can speculate that they will heavily pursue Freeny to replace him. With the signing of Abraham, it’s unlikely that the Patriots pursue Freeny and they will now likely turn their attention to re-signing CB Aqib Talib.
UPDATE: Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald tweeted at 6:07 p.m. “I was told very strongly that John Abraham ‘hasn’t signed’ with the Patriots.” While Leigh reports that they have reached an agreement, THERE IS NOTHING CONCRETE YET. This is not an official report of his signing.