Turner is joining fellow veterans Dunta Robinson and John Abraham on the waiver wire, according to the report, leaving the team scrambling to find able-bodied replacements in the draft and via free agency.
The Falcons back was set to make $6.9 million this upcoming season, so this cost-cutting move gives Atlanta some breathing room to find a cheaper option in the backfield.
First Ahmad Bradshaw with the Giants, now Turner with the Falcons, the running back position has become a revolving door of sorts in today’s NFL. When there’s any indication of decline, teams move on to the next one. Even those workhorses that have become 1,000-yard fixtures like Turner get sent packing.
In five seasons with Atlanta, “The Burner” totaled 38 touchdowns on the ground and three campaigns with over 1,300 yards. He had been a change-of-pace back in San Diego until he broke out on the scene as a Falcon with a 1,699-yard, 17-touchdown season.
Yet, Atlanta has become a more pass-heavy offense in recent years after acquiring Julio Jones and backup Jacquizz Rodgers. The NFC Championship Game signaled the changing of the guard, when Turner had only eight carries to Rodgers’ 10. The Falcons passed twice as many times as they ran the ball in the loss.
In 2012, though, Turner lacked the explosiveness from years past. The Falcons lightened his workload and his 3.6 yards-per-carry average was a career-worst. On the other hand, he flourished with goal-line duty, finishing with 10 touchdowns on the year.
Turner may not be the “Burner” he once was, but he possesses the strength and power to reinvent himself as a short-yardage back. Many teams are devoid of a short-yardage option with five straight years of double-digit touchdowns under his belt.
The Falcons, on the other hand, hand the keys to the running game over to Rodgers and Jason Snelling. They’ll likely take a look at the rookie crop as well.
Mike Shiekman is a Breaking News Writer for Bleacher Report. Follow his sports musings and random life observations on Twitter.