Michael Turner's days with Falcons are numbered


The Atlanta Journal-Constitution recently raised the possibility that Falcons running back Michael Turner will be replaced in Atlanta after hitting escalators that will drive his 2013 salary to $6.9 million with an $8.9 million cap figure.

With the offseason officially under way, Around the League will examine what's next for all 32 teams.

AFC East
» Bills | Dolphins | Jets | Patriots
AFC North
» Bengals | Browns | Ravens | Steelers
AFC South
» Colts | Jaguars | Texans | Titans
AFC West
» Broncos | Chargers | Chiefs | Raiders
NFC East
» Cowboys | Eagles | Giants | Redskins
NFC North
» Bears | Lions | Packers | Vikings
NFC South
» Buccaneers | Falcons | Panthers | Saints
NFC West
» Cardinals | Niners | Rams | Seahawks

Citing "those in the know," the National Football Post now reports the Falcons will be in the market for a running back this offseason. "Chances are" the team will cut ties with Turner, who has lost his ability to "bounce and cut" at age 31.

The news comes as no surprise to avid Falcons watchers. After NFL.com's Albert Breer noted a league-wide perception in August that Turner was "about to lose it ... fast," the one-time power back saw his per-carry average plummet from 4.5 yards in 2011 to 3.6 in 2012.

The coaching staff continued to lose faith in Turner on key third and fourth downs, and he was too often stuffed at the goal line. His inability to move the chains while protecting a lead came back to bite Atlanta in both playoff games this year.

While Jacquizz Rodgers is an excellent pass-catcher in a tandem attack, he's stretched as a feature back. If the Falcons address the position in free agency, "ground 'n' pound" artist Shonn Greene offers a skill-set similar to a younger Turner. Shooting for the moon, Alabama's violent tackle breaker Eddie Lacy would be an even better option.

Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.