The Atlanta Falcons have released defensive end John Abraham, cornerback Dunta Robinson, and running back Michael Turner.
The Falcons traded with the New York Jets for Abraham in 2006. He was originally selected by the Jets with the 13th pick in the 2000 NFL Draft. The defensive end played seven seasons with Atlanta, and he notched 68.5 sacks. He had a career-high of 16.5 sacks in 2008. Last season, he had 10 sacks.
Abraham is the NFL’s active sack leader with 122 career sacks. His release saves the Falcons $5.75 million.
Robinson was originally selected by the Houston Texans 10th overall in the 2004 NFL Draft. The Falcons signed him to a six-year, $57 million contract in 2010.
In his three seasons with Atlanta, Robinson had four interceptions, 1.5 sacks, one forced fumble and 24 passes defended. Last season, Robinson had one interception, 1.5 sacks, one forced fumble, and eight passes defended. His release saves the Falcons $3.75 million.
Turner signed with the Falcons as a free agent in 2008. He was originally selected 154th overall in the 2004 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers.
Turner rushed for 6,081 yards and set a franchise record with 60 touchdowns in his five seasons with the Falcons. He was named an All-Pro in 2008 after he rushed for 1,699 yards and 17 touchdowns. Last season, Turner managed just 800 yards, but still had 10 rushing touchdowns.
In each of his five seasons, the running back scored double-digit rushing touchdowns. His release saves the Falcons $6.4 million.
On Wednesday, it was announced the salary cap would increase to $123 million for the 2013 NFL season.
The Falcons clearly have a plan after releasing these veterans. With the added cap space, they can make a couple of significant moves in free agency – including signing Steven Jackson. With the release of Robinson, the Falcons will likely try to re-sign free agent cornerback Brent Grimes.
They also have room to re-sign left tackle Sam Baker and strong safety William Moore. There’s also the extension for quarterback Matt Ryan.
It’s going to be an interesting offseason, that’s for sure.