The Atlanta Falcons have effectively freed up $15.9 million dollars in cap space after releasing running back Michael Turner, defensive end John Abraham and cornerback Dunta Robinson on Friday, March 1st.
ESPN was the first to break the news, which was later confirmed by the teams twitter account.
Turner, who's release has been increasingly rumored for quite some time now, freed up $6.4 million dollars in cap space. He rushed for 800 yards on 3.6 yards per carry in 2012, both of which were career lows since coming to the Falcons in 2008. Turner leaves Atlanta as it's all time leader in rushing touchdowns and total touchdowns.
Abraham, widely considered as the most surprising of this group simply because of the teams notoriously weak pass rush, freed up $5.75 million in cap. While still extremely productive in limited minutes for his age, Abraham was simply no longer worth being paid as a top-tier starter.
Lastly, Robinson was always on the chopping block as his production just hasn't matched his paycheck. It was also clear at the start of the offseason that the front office would have to make a choice between Robinson and Brent Grimes. Atlanta has clearly made it's choice, and should potential have room to resign Grimes and Pro Bowl safety William Moore. Robinson was released with three years and $29.5 million dollars remaining on his deal.
"As a football coach it is never easy to cut any player, especially veteran players who have been valuable members of the organization," Falcons head coach Mike Smith said in a statement released by the team. "The guys we released today have contributed to the success that we have had over the last five years, and we greatly appreciate their efforts."
As difficult as this day may be seeing players who have meant so much to the city of Atlanta in recent years released, it's hard not to be thrilled with the fact the Falcons appear to be done settling for anything less than a championship.