To save almost $16 million under the salary cap, the Atlanta Falcons released running back Michael Turner, defensive end John Abraham and cornerback Dunta Robinson on Friday.
Turner was expected to be released. His base salary in 2013 was $6.9 million and his cap figure was to be $8.9 million. He rushed for 6,081 yards in five seasons with the falcons and scored 60 touchdowns.
General manager Thomas Dimitroff and head coach Mike Smith said at the Scouting Combine last week that more tough decisions would have to be made. Smith said he was open to Jacquizz Rodgers taking on a larger role in the offense after Turner averaged 3.6 yards per carry and faded down the stretch last season.
"As a football coach it is never easy to cut any player, especially veteran players who have been valuable members of the organization," said Smith. "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."
Abraham's release saves the team $5.75 million and releasing Robinson brings a $3.795 million savings.
Abraham could have left as a free agent in 2012 but re-signed last March for three years and $16.72 million.
Robinson signed a six-year, $57 million deal with the Falcons in 2010 as an unrestricted free agent from the Houston Texans but never delivered the No. 1 cornerback impact the team expected.