Originally posted on Fox Sports South  |  Last updated 2/22/13
For the time being, Michael Turner remains on the Atlanta Falcons roster, as an email from a team spokesman confirmed on Friday morning. Nonetheless, Turner, a finalist in the MVP voting in 2008, appears a short-timer at best with the Falcons, as one network reported on Friday that the team would cut him. Speaking before reporters at the NFL Combine on Friday, head coach Mike Smith hardly denied that the Falcons would soon part ways with Turner. Guys, this time of the year, there are tough decisions that have to be made, Smith said. We are recalibrating our roster as we speak, going through that process. Michael is under contract right now. Well continue to go through that process in terms of how we are going to recalibrate it. Myself, (owner Arthur) Blank and (general manager Thomas Dimitroff) have had numerous discussions. There is a cause and effect to every decision that you make at this time of the year. Youre dealing with the salary cap and those decisions will work themselves out over the next couple of weeks. Turner turned31 last week, and after 1,411 regular-season carries over the last five years in Atlanta (average of 282.2 carries per season over that span), appears to be on the down side of his career. His 800 yards rushing last season marked his lowest season total in his five seasons with the Falcons. His 3.6 yards per carry perhaps the more telling statistic was the lowest of his career by half a yard, a significant amount. By cutting Turner, who is expected to earn 6.9 million next season, the Falcons will fall between 8 and 9 million under the leagues salary cap, which is expected to be about 122 million. The Falcons have 14 players set to become unrestricted free agents, including a couple of key players who could be in line for some big contracts. The two biggest names are left tackle Sam Baker and safety William Moore, the lattercoming off a Pro Bowl season. The Falcons will likely try to get Moore to sign the same deal as they did with fellow safety Thomas DeCoud, who signed a five-year, 17.5-million deal last year and, like Moore, also made the Pro Bowl in 2012. However, DeCoud signed his deal before he made the Pro Bowl, which could give Moore more leverage. When it comes to left tackles, they can be far more pricey, as they generally protect the blind side for right-handed quarterbacks and Baker is coming off a career year in that regard. Denver reportedly is going to use its franchise tag on left tackle Ryan Clady, which will pay him 9.66 million. Clearly, its in the Falcons best interest to sign Baker to a longer-term deal that is more cap friendly so as not to use up most of the savings they would get by cutting Turner. There are also other key players whom the Falcons must decide upon. The most high-profile is that of Tony Gonzalez, but in that case the Falcons have made their desire clear for Gonzalez to return and its more of a case of waiting for Gonzalez to decide whether he wants to play or to retire. Clearly, the Falcons want him back, but if they have to pay him nearly 7 million, as they did last season, how do they clear cap room? Defensively, do they keep cornerback Brent Grimes, who is coming off a torn Achilles tendon and whom they paid 10 million last season? The Falcons starting cornerbacks of Asante Samuel, Dunta Robinson and nickelback Robert McClain performed well last season and Grimes will be 30 but its hard to turn away a player as talented as Grimes, who made the Pro Bowl in 2010. Those decisions do not include others that need to be made on 14-year veteran center Todd McClure and defensive tackle Vance Walker, whose 3.0 sacks ranked fourth on the team and were only 0.5 behind leading defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux. For Turner, the handwriting has been on the wall for a while. He was a very good player and teammate for the Falcons, but the NFL has no room for sentimentality. Look for the Falcons to replace him either in the draft or with a low-priced free agent.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Rams owner buys massive 520,000-acre Texas ranch

Cam Newton explains why he did not dive on fumble

George Karl’s agent rips Kings, wants broadcaster reprimanded

WATCH: Popovich has funny reaction to New Hampshire results

Suns vets pull packing peanut prank on rookie Devin Booker

Teammate gives Manning final completion ball from Super Bowl

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Ole Miss Football cited in 13 of 28 department violations by NCAA

Larry Sanders to consider NBA comeback after other interests stabilize

The NCAAB power rankings

SEC begins crying foul over Jim Harbaugh’s spring break plans at Michigan

Marc Gasol reportedly out indefinitely with broken foot

Patriots waive Montee Ball despite never officially re-signing running back

WATCH: Blackhawks coach walks out of press conference

Greg McElroy: Cam Newton 'quit on his team'

Tennis umpires secretly banned over gambling issues

WATCH: Dancing Kentucky fan slides down rail, fails

Clemson LB has great response to NFL draft analyst's criticism

Former Aggies QB Kyle Allen reveals culture problems at Texas A&M

Roy Williams collapses during game vs. BC

Panthers TE Greg Olsen shaves off his playoff beard

Derek Fisher thanks Knicks in statement

Miami Heat to honor Shaq by retiring his number 32

Oakland Raiders release Nate Allen

B.J. Penn announces he will return at UFC 197

Bring back the Dunk Contest

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The NCAAB power rankings

Report: Kings to keep coach George Karl

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

Curry to serve as drummer for Panthers

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker