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Abraham, Turner could be released to create salary cap space -- team projected to be just $1.7 million under cap
With the $1.3 million in carryover, the Falcons have about $1.7 of cap space before the start of the new NFL year. That’s barely enough room to offer restricted free agent tenders to running back Antone Smith, cornerback Robert McClain and tight end Michael Palmer.
After their gut-wrenching 28-24 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC championship game, Dimitroff and Smith, who work closely together in the offseason, have the task of improving their roster in a cap-stressed situation.
The Falcons also have to consider addressing the contracts of future free agents like quarterback Matt Ryan (eligible in 2014), defensive tackle Corey Peters (2014), wide receiver Roddy White (2015) and linebacker Sean Weatherspoon (2015).
If the Falcons want to bring back Gonzalez and re-sign Baker and Moore, they will have to renegotiate several contracts and make other financial cuts to gain additional cap room.
Releasing Turner and Abraham could net the Falcons $10.4 million of cap space. Other players like Nicholas, Robinson and right tackle Tyson Clabo could be renegotiation prospects.
The Falcons re-signed Abraham last season to a modest three-year, $16.72 million contract. Because Abraham has two years left on his contract with his $1.5 million of prorated signing bonus, the team’s net cap space gain is about $6 million. He’s set to make $4.25 million in base salary in 2013 and $3.25 in 2014.
Turner’s base salary for 2013 increases from $5.5 million to $6.9 million because of an escalator clause from 2008 and 2010-11 performance incentives. He also has a prorated signing bonus of $2.5 million to absorb so the team’s net salary cap gain would be $4.4 million.