The sometimes harsh and cold business reality of pro football rears its ugly head in the offseason.
On Friday, it struck at the Falcons’ facilities, when former All-Pro players Michael Turner and John Abraham, along with cornerback Dunta Robinson, were released to create salary-cap space that will allow the team to re-sign some of their own free agents.
“They were business decisions,” Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said Friday. “They were decisions made for us to continue to look at the direction of this football team.”
The Falcons reached the NFC Championship game last season, but a potential game-winning drive stalled on the 10-yard line in a gut-wrenching 28-24 loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
Turner’s release saved the team $6.4 million under the salary cap. Abraham’s saved $5.75 million and Robinson’s saved $3.75 million. In all, the team saved $15.9 million under the cap by releasing the veterans. Robinson also was due a $3 million roster bonus March 17.
The Falcons’ adjusted cap for 2013 is $124.3 million, according to NFLPA documents. Before the moves, they had $4.1 million in cap space.
So, with a few days remaining before free agency starts March 9, the Falcons have some cap room to try to re-sign offensive tackle Sam Baker and safety William Moore.
“As far as free agency, given these three moves, again our focus has always been to make sure that we hone in on our players that are currently on our team in our attempt to re-sign our football players,” Dimitroff said. “That’s going to be our focus, first and foremost.”
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