ATLANTA — The Atlanta Falcons agreed to terms Friday on a three-year deal with John Abraham, the team’s top pass rusher and a key part of the defense last season.
He led the team with 91/2 sacks and has 58 1/2 in six seasons with Atlanta, a total that ties him with Chuck Smith for second place in team history. The 33-year-old defensive end also had four forced fumbles and one fumble recovery last season. He had 13 sacks in 2010.
Last week, the Falcons re-signed free safety Thomas DeCoud and backup defensive end Kroy Biermann. Atlanta used its franchise tag on cornerback Brent Grimes. Middle linebacker Curtis Lofton also is a free agent.
No other Atlanta play had more than four sacks last season. The Falcons signed Ray Edwards before the 2011 season to provide a pass-rushing complement to Abraham at defensive end, but Edwards had only 3 ½ sacks.
The Falcons would have been left with a huge void on their defensive front if they had lost Abraham, a four-time Pro Bowl pick who played his first six seasons with the Jets.
DOLPHINS: Spurned by Peyton Manning, Miami turned to its backup plan – backup quarterback Matt Flynn.
Manning telephoned the Dolphins on Thursday to advise them he would sign elsewhere, and the team began courting free-agent Flynn, two people familiar with the negotiations said.
Both people confirmed the developments to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the Dolphins haven’t commented publicly on their free-agent shopping.
Flynn, a backup last season with Green Bay, was scheduled to visit Miami by the weekend after concluding a visit with the Seattle Seahawks.
CARDINALS: Out of the race to nab Manning, Arizona is moving on with quarterback Kevin Kolb.
Kolb remained on the Arizona roster at a 4 p.m. EDT deadline Friday, ensuring him a $7 million roster bonus that the team would not have paid if they had landed Manning.
Coach Ken Whisenhunt issued a statement acknowledging that “acquiring Peyton Manning is no longer an option for us.”
JETS: New York addressed a couple of major needs in free agency, signing wide receiver Chaz Schilens and backup quarterback Drew Stanton.
The 6-foot-4 Schilens, who spent the past four seasons with the Oakland Raiders, gives New York a much-needed big and speedy target.
RAIDERS: After starting the free agency period by cutting salaries, Oakland started spending money by signing offensive lineman Mike Brisiel and cornerback Ron Bartell to contracts.
RAMS: St. Louis agreed to terms with former Green Bay Packers center Scott Wells, a league source told ESPN.com.
PATRIOTS: New England re-signed linebacker Tracy White and signed safety Steve Gregory.
The 30-year-old White has played 10 NFL seasons with Seattle, Jacksonville, Green Bay and Philadelphia before spending the past two seasons with the Patriots. He was second on the team both years in special teams tackles.
He finished the regular season with 25 tackles and also played in all three postseason games, including a start in Super Bowl XLVI.
REDSKINS: Free agent cornerback Cedric Griffin signed with Washington.
Griffin agreed to a one-year deal which could be worth as much as $2.5 million, according to The Washington Post.
Griffin was cut last week by Minnesota.