The Atlanta Falcons cut Michael Turner, John Abraham and Dunta Robinson, shedding 31 seasons of combined National Football League experience as the team works to get under the salary cap by the March 12 deadline.
The cuts will save the Falcons $15.9 million, including $6.4 million for Turner, $5.75 million for Abraham and $3.75 million for Robinson, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
The NFL’s limit on teams’ player payrolls will rise to $123 million from $120.6 million, the Associated Press reported yesterday. All 32 teams must be under the cap by the deadline.
“As a football coach it is never easy to cut any player, especially veteran players who have been valuable members of the organization,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said in a statement on the team’s website.
The Falcons went 13-3 last season, the best record in the National Football Conference. They lost to the San Francisco 49ers 28-24 in the conference championship game.
Turner’s 800 yards rushing last season was his lowest total since joining the Falcons in 2008, when he ran for 1,699 yards and 17 touchdowns. The 31-year-old had 10 rushing scores in 2012. Having played his first four seasons with the San Diego Chargers, Turner’s 7,338 career rushing yards rank 51st in NFL history.
Abraham, 34, is 13th on the NFL’s all-time sacks list with 122, the most of any active player. A first-team All-Pro in 2001 and 2010, Abraham had 10 sacks last season. He was drafted 13th overall by the New York Jets in 2000 and was traded to Atlanta in 2006.
Robinson was with the Falcons for three seasons after playing his first six for the Houston Texans. The 30-year-old has 17 career interceptions, including one last season.