And there is this year’s offseason splash for the Atlanta Falcons.
The Falcons have completed a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles, sending a SEVENTH-ROUNDER in exchange for cornerback Asante Samuel. The hang-up on the trade was reworking Samuel’s contract. The Falcons did finally so, agreeing with Samuel to a three-year, $18.5 million deal. Before, Samuel was scheduled to make $9.9 million this season and $11.4 million in 2013. In other words, Samuel took a pretty significant pay cut to come to Atlanta.
At 31, Samuel has been to the Pro Bowl four times. In 2007, he was selected as an All-Pro. For his career, Samuel has notched a total of 45 interceptions, returning five for touchdowns. In 2006, Samuel snagged a career-high 10 interceptions. During his four years with the Eagles, Samuel totaled 23 interceptions.
When the New England Patriots drafted Samuel in 2003, Thomas Dimitroff, the Falcons current general manager, was the Patriots’ director of scouting. If anyone knows Samuel and what he’s capable of doing, it’s Dimitroff. The Falcons were interested in Samuel last year after the cornerback became a luxury when the Eagles acquired cornerbacks Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. However, the Eagles’ asking price was too high and nothing came of the interest.
Samuel will undoubtedly bolster the Falcons’ secondary, a unit that ranked 20th in pass defense last season. He will join Brent Grimes, who just signed his franchise tender yesterday, and Dunta Robinson, making for a pretty talented trio of cornerbacks.
Quarterback Matt Ryan and outside linebacker Sean Weatherspoon had already given Samuel a lot of praise yesterday when asked about possibility of adding the Pro Bowl cornerback to the team.
Ryan said this about the cornerback:
“As far as Asante Samuel is concerned, I can only speak from having played against him a number of times, and I know that he’s been extremely difficult to play against.”
And Weatherspoon had this to say:
“I think he’s a great player. We played against them the last few years and we saw what he could do. He’s definitely a player that I think would improve anyone’s defense.”
Because Grimes and Samuel are better suited on the outside, Robinson is the likely candidate to slide inside to play nickelback.
Every year since 2008, the Falcons general manager has made an offseason splash – in 2008 it was running back Michael Turner, in 2009 it was tight end Tony Gonzalez, in 2010 it was Dunta Robinson, in 2011 it was Julio Jones and Ray Edwards. Now, in an offseason that looked like the Falcons were staying put, they make this trade.
Dimitroff has done it again.