While the San Diego Chargers go in a new direction on both the coaching and general manager side of the ball, would it pay them to go back in time a bit?
As expected, the Atlanta Falcons announced on Friday the release of three key players, including former Chargers' running back Michael Turner. Also let go was defensive end John Abraham and cornerback Dunta Robinson, moves that reportedly will save the Falcons some $22.75 million in salary-cap space.
"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 commented in a statement released by the organization. "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."
Even though the Bolts may have little to no interest in Abraham or Robinson, could Turner be in their minds for the 2013 season?
Drafted by the Chargers in the fifth round of the 2004 NFL Draft, Turner, 31, appeared to be a potential replacement for future Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson before signing a lucrative six-year, $34.5 million contract with the Falcons as a unrestricted free agent in 2008.
In his time in the Peach State, Turner ran for 6,081 yards, coming within 550 yards of becoming Atlanta's all-time leader in rushing yards. Turner leads the Falcons in all-time rushing touchdowns (60) and total touchdowns (61).
During the 2012 campaign, Turner rushed for 800 yards on 222 touches. He rushed for 98 yards on 14 carries in a victory over the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Divisional playoffs, but was held to a mere 30 yards on eight carries in Atlanta's NFC Championship game loss to San Francisco.
Given the inconsistency of Chargers' running back Ryan Mathews these last three seasons, should the Chargers consider giving Turner another look, albeit most likely at a reduced salary from what he was making in Atlanta?