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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

What do the Bucs see in John Abraham?



We’ve gotten someone in the know to confirm what was reported by earlier: The Bucs do indeed have an interest in former Falcons defensive end John Abraham.

The Bucs know him well, having seen him twice per season in the NFC South. But seeing how the Bucs seem prepared to let free agent Michael Bennett – their top pass rusher in 2012 – leave as a free agent, Tampa Bay’s interest in Abraham might seem surprising at first glance.

But give it some thought and it makes sense on some levels. This would be the team’s thinking: Bennett wants and deserves a lucrative, long-term contract, but the Bucs already have long-term commitments to ends Da’Quan Bowers and Adrian Clayborn. They are are all in with that pair as the starting ends. But the pass rush still isn’t what it needs to be, and hasn’t been for years.

That’s where Abraham could enter the picture. He turns 35 in May and won’t play much longer, but he’s still capable of having immediate impact in the short term; he registered 10 sacks in 2012 and is still effective. He might work well as a situational pass rusher in Tampa, perhaps allowing him to continue playing at a high level.

One thing you can count on is this: There’s basically no momentum toward getting a deal done with Bennett. The Bucs seem to be moving on. But it’s very unlikely they stay status quo on the defensive line.

Whether they think Abraham is the guy they need remains to be seen. And he’s currently visiting the 49ers today and might not make it out of San Francisco to begin with; he also visited the Seahawks on Thursday and has drawn interest from a few other teams. No visit is currently scheduled with the Bucs.

But their interest in Abraham, after some thought, isn't surprising after all.

[Last modified: Friday, March 8, 2013 10:50pm]


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