Flowery Branch, GA (Sports Network) - The Atlanta Falcons made some tough salary-cap decisions Friday and released running back Michael Turner, cornerback Dunta Robinson and defensive end John Abraham.
The trio spent three seasons together and helped the Falcons to the playoffs each year. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the decision will save the team $15.9 million in 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," said Falcons coach Mike Smith in a statement Friday. "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."
Turner spent five seasons with the Falcons after signing as a free agent on March 2, 2008. He ran for 6,081 yards with a franchise-record 60 touchdowns in 75 games with the club.
The 31-year-old Northern Illinois product had his worst season as a Falcon in 2012, finishing with 800 yards on the ground, but still scored 11 total touchdowns. He spent his first four NFL seasons with San Diego and has rushed for 7,338 yards with 66 scores in his career.
Robinson joined the Falcons as a free agent in March 2010 and appeared in 47 games during his three seasons, compiling 214 tackles with four interceptions. He spent his first six years with Houston and has 17 career interceptions.
Abraham was the longest-tenured Falcon of the three, coming to the club in a 2006 trade with the New York Jets. He registered 68 1/2 sacks in his seven seasons, including 10 in 2012.
The 34-year-old veteran spent his first six seasons with the Jets, who made him the 13th overall selection of the 2000 draft. He has 122 sacks in 175 NFL games.