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Michael Turner, John Abraham cut by Atlanta Falcons

The Atlanta Falcons aren't standing pat after finally winning a playoff game. They are cleaning house.

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Albert Breer reported via a team source that the Falcons released running back Michael Turner, defensive end John Abraham and cornerback Dunta Robinson on Friday. ESPN first reported the news.

The team later confirmed the news on Twitter.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution points out the team saved $15.9 million in salary-cap space.

Turner's release was expected. He was set to cost $6.9 million against the cap, a huge figure for a middling veteran running back. He later thanked Falcons fans on his Facebook page and wrote, "This is a tough business but I understand it's nature and respect the process."

We listed Robinson as a potential cap cut last week because his $8 million salary didn't match up to his play. Robinson is a solid tackler and decent cover cornerback, but he hasn't lived up to his huge contract in Atlanta. His release gives the team more room to try to re-sign cornerback Brent Grimes and safety William Moore.

Abraham's release is the biggest surprise. The Falcons need pass-rushing help badly, and Abraham can still be effective. But he's more of a part-time player at this stage that is paid like a quality starter. There has been speculation that the team could go after Osi Umenyiora in free agency. 

These moves mark the beginning of a new phase of the Falcons' run under coach Mike Smith and general manager Thomas Dimitroff. Abraham was a stalwart for the team. Turner and Robinson were two of Dimitroff's biggest early moves.

"In 2008, we came in here and we were the youngest team in the NFL," Dimitroff told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "This last year, we were one of the oldest teams."

That was last year. The Falcons clearly are looking to get younger.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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