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Falcons Free Agency, Running Backs Preview: Is A Michael Turner Trade Even Possible?

Based on the team's 2011 performance, you could easily call running back a position of strength for the Atlanta Falcons.

Michael Turner had arguably his best season since 2008, averaging 4.5 yards per carry on his way to over 1300 yards rushing and 11 scores. Ovie Mughelli was a top-tier fullback as always before injury cut his season short. Jacquizz Rodgers became a valuable contributor on offense down the stretch, and Jason Snelling is probably the best third-string running back in the league.

Of course, you might not think that considering how many fans have been calling for Turner's head this offseason. While there is some logic in attempting to trade the franchise's star running back (he'll be making $5 million as a 30 year old next season, and his role on offense should be less prominent), a Michael Turner trade just isn't going to happen.

Not in today's NFL.

It's simple: running backs are a dime a dozen.

Remember the interest Jason Snelling drew as a free agent last year? That's right, there wasn't any. Snelling has the talent and versatility to be a starting back in this league, but why would a team want to pay for a veteran when guys like Arian Foster and Fred Jackson can be found on your local practice squad?

The same reasoning applies to Turner. The team can either A) spend a draft pick to acquire Turner and his $5M salary, or B) search for the next Foster or BenJarvus Green-Ellis and sign him to an extraordinarily cheap deal.

As nice as it would be to receive a draft pick or two in exchange for No. 33, it would be illogical for any other team to try and do so. Even at this stage in his career, our workhorse back still has a place in this Falcons offense and would be worth more on the team than somewhere else.

With that issue cleared up, the only potential question that remains at running back is the health of one Ovie Mughelli. I hope he's ready. While an MCL tear is much less serious than an ACL, I'm still no expert on sports medicine. The Falcons may either want to keep Snelling for one more year as an insurance measure (not likely) or bring in a cheap free agent/undrafted rookie type of player.

So that's that. The Turner idea, while nice, just isn't feasible. But hey, at least we don't have to hear speculations about the Falcons signing old, creaky receivers (read: Terrell Owens) like last offseas- oh wait, no... no, stop it right now.

For more on the Falcons, check out The Falcoholic. For more on free agency and the draft, head over to SB Nation's NFL hub page.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.