Turner is still a top 10 RB in the NFL.
I'm sorry Nuccah, but if you think Turner is on par with players like Ray Rice, Fred Jackson, Frank Gore, Chris Johnson, Adrian Peterson, Maurice Jones-Drew, LeSean McCoy, Arian Foster, Darren McFadden, and Matt Forte at this point in his career, then you are taking crazy pills. There is no way that you can watch those guys play and think that Turner is performing on a comparable level. Which doesn't include players like Marshawn Lynch, DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart, LeGarrette Blount, Beanie Wells, Rashard Mendenhall, Ahmad Bradshaw, Ryan Mathews, Jamaal Charles, etc. that also all are performing at comparable if not higher level than Turner as well.
why the hell would he accept a paycut when he knows this might be the last year he gets paid?
Because given the market for 30-year old RBs who can't catch, accepting $3-4 million from the Falcons would have likely been more than he would have gotten on the open market. Look at Brandon Jacobs, who is Turner's most favorable comparison (same age, similar running style, similarly very limited on 3rd downs), he got a 1-yr. $1.5 million deal. Mike Tolbert and Peyton HIllis are 26 and have a similar skillset as Turner except they are more adept 3rd down players, and they got deals that number less than $3 million. Hillis got 1-yr. $3 million from KC, and Tolbert got a 4-yr. deal with $2.7M guaranteed. Michael Bush is 28, and got a 4-yr. deal with about $6.5M guaranteed, which if you figure Turner being 2 years older would have gotten roughly have as much guaranteed considering he would only be able to play half the shelf life of that contract. The Law Firm is 27 and got $4M guaranteed as part of a 3-yr. deal from Cincinnati and he too is also a "power" runner that doesn't do much on 3rd downs. The point I'm trying to illustrate is that the MARKET VALUE for a player like Turner is clearly around $3 or $4 million.
You're right, if the Falcons had approached him to re-do his deal, he and his agent could have told them to go screw themselves. But if that was the case, on the open market as a free agent, he wouldn't have made more than the $3.75M or $4.5M this year that I think it would have been fair
for the Falcons to offer him as part of the restructuring.
Mughelli is still a free-agent. If he was still as good as advertised, somebody would have picked him up by now.
While the off-season still technically continues from May until the end of July, the truth is the off-season ends at the draft. Very few FAs get deals done after the draft. Go look at the NFL.com transactions page for the months of May and June, and see how many non-rookies get signed. Ovie's ability to find another team is extremely prohibitive at this point in time in the NFL calendar, because teams have settled on what their 90-man training camp rosters are going to be give or take 1 or 2 players. And unless a team has a strong, pressing need for a lead blocker (which isn't likely to be the case because it's a dying position/role), then they aren't likely to make a change. For players like Ovie that are currently unsigned, they are basically waiting for injuries that come in camp to occur or some competitions to fall flat on their face. It wouldn't surprise me at all, if Ovie winds up with a team like New England.
Also, Koetters base offense after a 2 WR, FB, RB set up will be a 3 wide setup, which wouldn't leave room for a 2nd TE. And I'd rather a three wide setup over a 2 TE setup anyday (unless we were the Patriots obviously).
The point I'm trying to get at is that one of the justifications (helmed by the great DOL) for cutting Ovie was because the Koetter offense would make less use out of the fullback position than the Mularkey offense. Not sure what the great Ledbetter was basing that off because the Jags consistently used Greg Jones more often than we used Ovie over the past 4 or so years. And even if that is true, then it means we wasted a pick on Ewing in the 5th round. But the point is that if you take away the fullback, then it directly affects the PT of the #2 TE. The less/more you use a FB, the more/less you use 2 TEs.
Now while the Jags were a relatively FB-heavy offense under Koetter over the years, they still made ample use of the 2-TE formations. Last year, their #2 TE, Zach Potter played on average about 20 snaps per game last year. Douglas will play a lot more than that (probably 30-40), but it still leaves 25-35 snaps per game that must be filled by other personnel, which includes a 2nd TE.
But the primary reason why the Falcons should upgrade their #2 TE position is not for that role player, it's in the event of a significant injury to Tony Gonzalez. The #1 skillset of a receiving TE or WR in this league is the ability to separate from and beat man coverage. If you do not possess that skillset then you have little to no value as a receiver. This is a skillset that Gonzo has in abundance (as do all of the top TEs), but something that most backup TEs lack, thus why they are backups. This lacking skill is why Justin Peelle had a career high of only 29 catches, and never caught more than 15 passes as a Falcon during his time here. This is also a huge question mark for Michael Palmer going forward.
And what a lot of fans don't know about Palmer is that when you examine all 15 of his career catches, only 1 of them have come where he was asked to beat man coverage. And guess when that was? This past year's season finale against the Bucs.
Thus if you have an injury to Gonzalez, your offense reverts back to a state similar to as it was before he came here, which is basically now allowing opposing defenses to no longer account for the TE most downs. You're playing 10 on 11 football whenever you pass, which puts you at a distinct disadvantage. That means the opposing teams safeties can risk vacating the middle, doubling Roddy and/or Julio and you don't have that threat at TE that can make them pay for that.
Thus any TE that you can sign that has more ability to beat man coverage than Palmer is a potentially significant upgrade to your roster. And competition could also cause Palmer to elevate his game. But that's not competition he's going to get from players like Tommy Gallarda, Aron White, and Adam Nissley.
The Falcons are an ankle/knee/shoulder injury away from once again being one of the league's least explosive offenses as they were in 2010 and before. And a good GM should not put his team in that position. Whether that means signing Jeremy Shockey, Visanthe Shiancoe, Daniel Graham, Chris Baker, etc. then so be it. Are they going to solve the Falcons problems? No. But they are band-aid solutions because the team has neglected the TE position in each of the past 3 drafts.