heavy-rain-night Created with Sketch.
H 82° L 71°
  • heavy-rain-night Created with Sketch.
    Current Conditions
    Showers. H 82° L 71°
  • rain-day Created with Sketch.
    Showers. H 82° L 71°
  • partly-cloudy-tstorms-day Created with Sketch.
    Partly Cloudy T-storms. H 87° L 73°

Wsb news on-demand

00:00 | 00:00


Wsb traffic on-demand

00:00 | 00:00


Wsb weather on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

Falcons release key veterans to create salary cap space

Falcons release key veterans to create salary cap space

Falcons release key veterans to create salary cap space
Photo Credit: Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com
The Falcons defense led by John Abraham takes the field to play the Seahawks in their NFL divisional playoff game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013.

Falcons release key veterans to create salary cap space

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.

He was named All-Pro and made the Pro Bowl team after rushing for 1,699 and 17 touchdowns in 2008.

Turner’s 2009 season was marred by a high-ankle sprain. He rushed for 871 yards in 11 games.

He also made the Pro Bowl team after rushing for 1,371 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2010.

In 2011, he rushed for 1,340 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Last season, he split time with running back Jacquizz Rodgers. Turner averaged just 3.6 yards per carry last season as he finished with 800 yards on 222 carries.

The Falcons acquired Abraham through a trade with the New York Jets in 2006.

Abraham could have left during free agency last season, but he signed a three-year, $16.72 million contract to return to the Falcons in March 2012. The Titans and Broncos expressed interest and there was a least one undisclosed NFL team with a more lucrative offer on the table.

Abraham, one of the top defensive ends in the NFL over the past 13 seasons, was selected 13th overall in the first round of the 2000 draft by the New York Jets. One of the game’s premier speed rushers, Abraham has 122 career sacks.

Abraham had 68.5 sacks over his seven seasons with the Falcons. He had a career-high of 16.5 sacks in 2008.

Abraham’s cap number was $7.25 million and minus his prorated signing bonus of $1.5 million he’ll save the Falcons $5.75 million.

The Falcons, with the hopes of improving their pass defense, signed Robinson to a six-year, $57 million contract on March 5, 2010.

His salary cap number was $9 million and minus $5.75 million in prorated bonuses, he saves the team $3.75 million.

Rodgers, who had a strong second season, took over more of the role at running back last season.

“He can handle all three downs and he does a very good job for us returning kicks,” Smith said. “We were very transparent back in March of last year in terms of how we were going to put together our offense. That we were not going to have a featured back. That we were going to have carries dispersed amongst a number of guys and I think Jacquizz took advantage of his opportunities.”

Also, the Falcons are watching the situation closely in St. Louis with running back Steven Jackson, who’s expected to void his contract and become an unrestricted free agent, according to a report in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Jackson appears to be a better fit for the Falcons offense under coordinator Dirk Koetter. Jackson is an accomplished pass catcher out of the backfield.    

Jackson would be opting out of a deal that would have paid him $7 million next season.

Jackson, who turns 30 in July, would be a short-term fix and would not preclude the Falcons from selecting another running back in the draft. Jackson has rushed for more than 10,000 yards in nine seasons with the Rams.

Jackson has 407 career receptions and had 90 back in 2006.

These are the first moves as the Falcons get creative to possibly sign Jackson, tight end Tony Gonzalez, safety William Moore and left tackle Sam Baker. Also, quarterback Matt Ryan’s contract looms on the financial horizon.

After the Ray Edwards debacle — $27.5 million contract, $11 million guaranteed, virtually no return — the Falcons will be extremely selective in free agency. They have internally discussed adding defensive linemen Dwight Freeney and Osi Umenyiora. Teams can’t start negotiating until March 9. Free agency officially starts on March 12.

The Falcons continue to hope that Gonzalez returns.

“Tony (Gonzalez) is an anomaly,” Dimitroff said.  “Again, you see him walk out on the field as a 36-year-old and he looks like he’s 25. He’s in great shape. He takes care of himself. He moves around the way that he always has moved around. You see everyone lose a step or a quarter of a step, but Tony Gonzalez can still produce at a high level.”

They Falcons have been steadfast in their desire to have Gonzalez, who turned 37 on Feb. 27, return.

This is the second major roster purge under the Dimitroff regime.

After the surprising 2008 season in which the Falcons went 11-5 and earned a wildcard playoff berth, they allowed five defensive starters  -- defensive tackle Grady Jackson, cornerback Dominique Foxworth, linebacker Keith Brooking, safety Lawyer Milloy and linebacker Michael Boley -- to leave.

By releasing the veterans, the Falcons are confident that they can land help at running back, defensive end and cornerback through free agency, the draft or they believe the replacement is already on the roster.


Falcons to re-tool by relying heavily on the draft

Big decision coming on Michael Turner soon

Falcons to interview Manti Te'o at the NFL Scouting Combine

 Should the Falcons draft Ex-Gamecock running back Marcus Lattimore?

Falcons to search for new talent at NFL combine

Auburn tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen ready to workout at NFL combine

Georgia linebacker Alec Ogletree will be on the hot seat at the NFL combine

Read More

There are no comments yet. Be the first to post your thoughts. or Register.


  • A pilot suffered minor injuries Wednesday morning while ejecting from an F-16 Fighting Falcon jet that crashed during takeoff at southeast Houston’s Ellington Airport. >> Read more trending news The pilot, who was not identified, was being evaluated at a hospital after the crash around 10:30 a.m. local time, according to the North American Aerospace Defense Command. The pilot was conducting a training flight as part of a detachment of the 138th Fighter Wing, stationed at Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base in Houston, according to NORAD. The Houston Fire Department said the crash prompted officials to evacuate people within a 4,000-square-foot radius of Ellington Airport. The evacuation was expected to last about six hours. A spokesman for the Texas Air National Guard 147th Reconnaissance Wing told KPRC that the F-16 had ammunition on board when it crashed. Officials with the 147th Attack Wing told Houston officials that no residents were in danger due to the crash.
  • That notice that you got right now, throw it in the trash.'  Those words, that every Fulton County homeowner wants to hear, come from Commission Vice-Chairman Bob Elis concerning the 2017 tax assessments.  The county commission, in a unanimous vote, approved a measure that corrects the 2017 tax assessments by using the 2016 tax rates.  The decision by the board does not affect commercial properties and homeowners who have made improvements to their homes will also see an increase.  The corrective measure was sponsored by Commissioners Ellis, John Eaves and Liz Hausmann.  'The system is broken,' Hausmann says. 'It's inherently broken.'  Commissioner Emma Darnell says in addition to fixing a problem, the vote also shows that the Fulton County government is willing to listen.  The new tax assessments will be completed within a few weeks and then be sent out to homeowners by August. Those homeowners can still appeal the assessment, if they so choose.   'You can still appeal,' Ellis says, 'but, as for the new digest, you'll probably like it a whole lot better than what you have right now.”
  • It was a rather pleasant spring and now the first summer month too has been cooler than normal. Hot weather has not lasted more than a couple or few days so far this year. It sure saves the lawn and bushes a lot of stress and saves the watering bill and the A/C bill, so I like it. But I am sure sun tanning fans are not thrilled. It still looks like from today past the 4th of July real hot weather will continue to be hard to come by. Then odds of some heat go up if the new Weekly European Model Ensemble run is right. 1-15 Day GFS Ensemble average temperature departure from normal: End of June-early July rainfall amounts GFS Ensemble and Euro Ensemble: Hope for some drying beyond the current wet spell:      European Model the week ending July 7th: Then the model suggests more upper-level ridging which would bring warmer and drier if correct. The week ending July 14th: The model projects not dry weather in Georgia but less wet to open the new month, as the bigger rains are projected to shift north of here. None-the-less, it looks like odds for rain will be above-normal right into the start of August. So no drought and no extreme heat here. Week ending July 21st: Week ending July 28th: FOLLOW me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB
  • Car seat and stroller manufacturer Britax announced this week that it is recalling more than 200,000 car seats after customers reported that seats’ chest clips can break, posing a choking hazard for young children. >> Read more trending news The recall includes some models of the company’s B-Safe 35, B-Safe 35 Travel Systems, B-Safe 35 Elite, B-Safe 35 Elite Travel Systems and BOB B-Safe rear-facing infant child safety seats manufactured between Nov. 1, 2015 and May 31, 2017, according to a recall report from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. >> See the affected model numbers  Britax reported that it started seeing an increase in warranty claims due to chest clip damage in October 2016, one year after the company changed the material it used to make the clips in response to complaints that they were too easily opened. Since February, three customers have reported finding broken chest clips in children’s mouths. Britax said no choking injuries have been reported. In a notice to retailers, the company noted that the car seats remain safe to use, so long as consumers remove the faulty chest clip. “The chest clip is not a required safety device: it is added to the harness system to help position the shoulder straps,” the notice said. The company is providing replacement chest clips to consumers.
  • President Donald Trump questions why the Obama administration didn't try to stop Russian interference in the 2016 election. The president's tweet Thursday appears to cast doubt on the assessment of 17 intelligence agencies that blame Russia for election meddling. The president tweeted: 'By the way, if Russia was working so hard on the 2016 Election, it all took place during the Obama Admin. Why didn't they stop them?' Trump also claimed former Homeland Security chief Jeh Johnson 'is latest top intelligence official to state there was no grand scheme between Trump & Russia.' However, Johnson didn't say that in testimony Wednesday before the House intelligence committee; Johnson said was he wasn't aware of efforts by Trump or his campaign to collude with Russia beyond what the intelligence community already knows.
  • Poland's media say the son of European Council head Donald Tusk did him a disservice with a statement he made before a special commission in Poland that is investigating a major financial scam. But Donald Tusk said Thursday that he is 'proud' of his son. Michal Tusk told Poland's special parliamentary commission Wednesday that he and his father, who was Poland's prime minister at the time, knew the Amber Gold institution posing as a bank was 'not genuine.' The commission is investigating why the government failed to stop it. But many say it is aiming to undermine Donald Tusk, a political foe of the ruling party, and is looking for any potentially harmful information. Michal Tusk worked for a private airline, a subsidiary of Amber Gold. He was questioned as a witness.