Kevin C. Cox
Michael Turner, Dunta Robinson, and John Abraham are about to hit the market. Are any of them potential Patriots?
According to an initial report, the Atlanta Falcons have cut Michael Turner, Dunta Robinson, and John Abraham. Of course, the first thing that came to my mind is whether or not this move can in any way benefit the Patriots.
If I had to guess right now, I'd say no; there are enough red flags attached to each of these players that will likely cause the Pats to stay away. But each one of them is talented, and Belichick is nothing if not thorough, so you really never know.
It's highly, highly doubtful that the Patriots will pursue Turner. He's 31, he has a lot of tread on his tires, and signing him would only impede the development of young backs Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen. While Turner likely still has value and could actually settle nicely into a short yardage/ goal line back role, New England's money is best spent elsewhere.
John Abraham is an interesting case. He was one of the players I had New England targeting last year, and he was the most consistent pass rusher that the Falcons had since acquiring him from the Jets in 2006. He had 10 sacks last season, but saw the number of snaps he took diminish in order to keep him healthy. An ankle injury rendered him completely ineffective in the playoffs, and one has to wonder how much he has left in the tank. At 34, he's definitely towards the end of his career, but when healthy he has been as solid as ever. If he's looking to take a pay cut to play for a contender and willing to embrace a role as a situational pass rusher, I think that the Patriots would at least give him a look.
As for the 30-year-old Robinson, I don't really know what to think. He has been a starter in Atlanta since 2010 and knows how to bring it. He isn't an interception machine, notching only four picks over the last few seasons, but he's big, he's fast, and he's physical. Robinson could bring the nasty factor back to the Pats secondary that has been missing since Rodney Harrison left, and he displayed his ability to play inside slot corner this past season with Asante Samuel and Grimes on the outside. On the flip side, he has a history of making something of a spectacle of himself, holding out for large contracts several times and garnering multiple fines for dirty play. He isn't the kind of player that would want to take less money to go to a winner, and in a corner-needy market, he will likely be in high demand. In order to get him the Patriots would have to spend, and I'd rather see them give Talib his payday first.