Although some people were a little bit surprised the Atlanta Falcons released Michael Turner last week, it shouldn’t have been. With a heavy cap hit to take by keeping him for a lot less than the worthy production, it’s obvious he was let go. What’s less obvious is who will pick him up, with the Tennessee Titans possibly interested in his services.
Turner played for the Falcons since 2008, recording 6081 yards on 1411 carries, averaging 4.3 yards per rush and scoring a total of 61 touchdowns for the team, never scoring less than 10 in a season. Still, at 31, after rushing for only 800 yards last season, it’s clear that his best days are behind him, and for $6.9 million, Turner simply isn’t worth keeping around while the Falcons look for someone better (Reggie Bush, Stephen Jackson) to pair up with Jacquizz Rodgers.
The official reason the Falcons gave for his release was him not passing a medical. Some think that the ankle injury he aggravated during the NFC championship game was the reason, and it’s possible that he required surgery to repair the joint, although possibly another physical issue (overweight?) denied Turner from passing the physical.
However, be sure there will be a market for Turner, at a much reduced price. He has played a 16-game season in five of the last six years, and if he is healthy enough later on in the season, he should be a valuable running back to have around the goal line or third down situations. The Tennessee Titans do have Chris Johnson as their obvious choice for premier back, but head coach Mike Munchak said his team is looking for a downhill guy, a heavy guy to provide a different style to the faster Chris Johnson.
If that is the direction, and Turner is willing to go down in the wage scale, the Titans may make a quick deal and secure one of the more productive backs in the NFL over the last five seasons.