With an eye toward creating some salary cap space and getting younger, the Falcons released three key veterans -- running back Michael Turner, defensive end John Abraham and cornerback Dunta Robinson -- on Friday, the team confirmed to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Turner’s release saves the team $6.4 million under the salary cap. Abraham saves the $5.75 million and Robinson saves $3.75 million. In all, the team got $15.9 million under the salary cap by releasing the three veterans.
“In 2008, we came in here and we were the youngest team in the NFL,” Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said. “This last year, we were one of the oldest teams.”
Turner’s base salary for 2013 was set to increase from $5.5 million to $6.9 million because of an escalator clause from 2008 and 2010-11 performance incentives. His salary cap number for 2013 was slated to be $8.9 million, but he had a prorated signing bonus of $2.5 million to absorb, so the team’s net salary cap gain would be $6.4 million.
At the NFL scouting combine, Falcons coach Mike Smith did not deny that the moves were forthcoming.
“Guys, this time of the year, there are tough decisions that have to be made,” Smith said. “We are recalibrating our roster as we speak, going through that process. . . . We’ll continue to go through that process in terms of how we are going to recalibrate it.”
Smith and Dimitroff spent time with owner Arthur Blank after returning from the NFL scouting combine before making these moves.
There is a cause-and-effect to every decision that you make at this time of the year,” Smith said. “You’re dealing with the salary cap and those decisions will work themselves out.”
In five seasons with the Falcons, Turner rushed for 6,081 yards and 60 touchdowns.
- See more at: http://www.ajc.com/news/sports/football/falcons-release-key-veterans-create-salary-cap-spa/nWdYw/#sthash.TzIz4PVo.dpuf