While the release of John Abraham on March 1, 2013 effectively freed up $5.75 million in cap space, the move only strengthened the Atlanta Falcons glaring need for a pass rush. After all, the Falcons ranked 28th in the league for sacks last season with 29 total. A third of which Abraham accounted for, as he notched 10 sacks on the year.
So while Abraham's release clearly leaves a gaping hole in Atlanta's defensive line, it should ultimately allow Thomas Dimitroff some much needed breathing room to land talent when the market is set March 12th.
Avril, who finished the 2012 season with 9.5 sacks, has made stated that chances of him remaining with the Lions is 50-50. There are rumors that the 26 year old rejected a three year, $30 million dollar offer from the team last season.
"Last year, going into it, I felt like with all the deals made around me, that wasn't significant enough for what they were trying to offer me," Avril said. "I didn't think that was the right deal to take, so I just played the (franchise) tag. Here we are again. Hopefully, we can figure something out and get my worth."
Avril went on to elaborate that he felt like his age and his ceiling could potentially land him with a deal close to that of Buffalo Bills defensive end Mario Williams, who's contract is worth six-years and up to $100 million dollars.
After the Falcons recent moves, they now have roughly $15.9 million in cap space. So while Avril's expectations are simply out of reach for the Falcons current budget at surface value, veteran pass rushers such as John Abraham and Dwight Freeney could drastically alter the landscape of this years market as they would likely sign shorter and cheaper deals.
Bennett, on the other hand, is a much more realistic option as the Bucs chose not to use their franchise tag on the 27 year old and he'll hit the market as an unrestricted free agent. In 2012 he registered career highs across the board with 9 sacks, 3 forced fumbles and 41 tackles.
If he were to come to Atlanta, he could potential even persuade his brother, Martellus Bennett, to join the Falcons as well. As there have been rumors of the brothers re-uniting in the past and Martellus has recently expressed that he's not feeling the love in New York.
Dwight Freeney and Osi Umenyiora have also been rumored as possibilities, although both are over the age of 30.