Atlanta Falcons free up $16 million

The Atlanta Falcons are parting ways with three big-name veterans.

Adam Schefter reports the Falcons are releasing defensive end John Abraham, cornerback Dunta Robinson and running back Michael Turner. In the process, the Falcons will free up more than $16 million in cap space for this year.

Releasing Abraham frees up $5.75 million. Unloading Robinson creates $3.75 million in cap room and the Falcons avoid having to pay a $3 million roster bonus in mid-March. Releasing Turner frees up $6.4 million.

None of the moves are surprising. There had been speculation for weeks that all three players could be gone. But the actual news that they’re going makes it obvious the Falcons plan to be somewhat active in free agency, maybe even before the official start of free agency March 12. Even before the moves, the Falcons were about $4.5 million under the salary cap.

There has been talk the Falcons might be interested in defensive end Dwight Freeney. He can be signed now because he was released by Indianapolis and he would seem to be a logical replacement for Abraham.

There also has been talk the Falcons could pursue veteran running back Steven Jackson to replace Turner. That’s a possibility. But I also could see the Falcons drafting a running back and pairing him with Jacquizz Rodgers.

The release of Robinson makes it more likely the Falcons will attempt to re-sign cornerback Brent Grimes. If the Falcons keep Grimes, they’re in decent shape at cornerback with Asante Samuel and Robert McClain also on the roster.

The additional salary-cap space also gives the Falcons room to work with as they attempt to re-sign left tackle Sam Baker and safety William Moore.