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When Johny Comes Marching Home Again

Why the NY Jets should bring John Abraham home.

Scott Cunningham

John Abraham is unemployed. Only two weeks before rookies report to training camp, John Abraham is unemployed. It is surprising. Almost shocking. The man is a pass rushing machine. 122 sacks in his 13 year career. Every year he has played more than 8 games he has recorded 9.5 or more sacks. Yes, he just turned 35 years old. But he still appears to have plenty left in the tank. Last year he had 10 sacks, to go along with a career high 6 forced fumbles and a career high 7 passes defensed. That doesn't look like he's in serious decline to me. And yet... John Abraham is unemployed.

The Jets need an edge rusher. They have needed an edge rusher for a long time, since 2006, when they traded... John Abraham. They have not addressed this need in the draft. They have brought in the speedy Antwan Barnes, but he has only a single year with double digit sacks in his career. The Jets need an edge rusher. John Abraham is unemployed. This is a match made in heaven.

No, John Abraham is not a long term solution. He is 35. At best you get two years out of him. Maybe you get only one. He is a stopgap. But what a stopgap. He is a proven, elite edge rusher. Early in his career he couldn't stay healthy, but that no longer seems to be a concern, as he has missed a total of just two games over the course of his last six seasons combined. Abraham is no longer an every down player. He is a situational pass rusher. But when he is in there, he produces. He is hugely productive in limited snaps, and enormously consistent in getting to the QB. Put him in there in passing situations and watch the sacks add up. It is nearly automatic.

Question: when was the last time the Jets had a guy nearly guaranteed to give them double digit sacks if healthy? When was the last time the Jets had a feared edge rusher? Answer: 2005 -- John Abraham. The defensive line is already shaping up to be a major strength of the team in 2013. Why not try and put it over the top? Imagine a lineup in passing situations of Barnes and Abraham on the edge, with Wilkerson, Coples and Richardson coming up the middle. Speed to burn on the edge, power and explosiveness up the gut. How fearsome would that be? Pressure on the edge, pressure up the middle. No place for opposing QBs to run, no place to hide. Mayhem and destruction. And sacks. Lots of sacks. Can you feel it?

We can make this happen. We have the cap room. We have the job opening. And Johny needs a job. Johny Idzik, it's time to bring Johny Abraham home again. And we can all shout, "Hurrah! Hurrah!" When Johny comes marching home.