The Tennessee Titans are close to signing veteran defensive end John Abraham. NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reports the Titans hope to complete the signing this week. The Titans need the experienced and skilled pass-rusher to improve their ability to pressure quarterbacks.
The Titans have struggled getting to the passer during the last two seasons. Coordinator Jerry Gray has been forced to mix and match a variety of fronts and personnel combinations to try and scheme some pressure.
Gray has resorted to three-man lines and various defensive back blitzes with little success. The main problem has been the lack of a stud pass-rusher up front.
Ends Kamerion Wimbley and Derrick Morgan have led the way in the sacks department. However, both managed less than seven sacks apiece in 2012.
Signing Abraham would at last give Gray the premium rush end he needs to make his schemes work. He may be 34, but Abraham remains as dangerous off the edge as any pass-rusher in the NFL.
While his initial speed has diminished, Abraham wins against blockers with smarts and technical refinement. He uses his hands well and boasts a lengthy repertoire of pass-rushing moves.
He occupied a situational role for the Atlanta Falcons since 2010. The Falcons often kept him on a snap count, to keep him fresh for late in games.
Abraham wasn't always a fan of move, but it did help him top the Falcons' sack charts in each of the last three seasons. He has also retained a priceless knack for making big plays in decisive moments.
Abraham became the ultimate closer for the Falcons, frequently making game-clinching contributions. He mastered the sack-forced fumble combination, the true splash play for any great pass-rusher.
The Titans need that kind of impact if they hope to compete with the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts in the AFC South. They are a good fit for Abraham, having gotten bigger at the defensive tackle position this offseason.
The team added Sammie Lee Hill and Ropati Pitoitua in free agency. Each weighs in excess of the 315-pound mark. With greater potential to occupy blockers inside, the Titans should be able to manufacture enough one-on-one rush opportunities for Abraham to dominate.
A potential sticking point in any negotiations could be Abraham's fiscal demands. NFL.com's Chris Wesseling claims Abraham wants $5 million per year.
That's a handsome sum for a player in the twilight of his playing career. However, if the Titans are serious about keeping pace with the Colts and Texans, then Abraham's skills are worth the price.
The Titans have needed a top-notch rush end for the last two years. Abraham is arguably the best left on the market. Joining the Titans is a perfect match for both franchise and player.