Former Houston Texans’ cornerback Dunta Robinson, a native of Athens, agreed to terms on a six-year contract with the Atlanta Falcons on Friday, according to his agent Jason Chayut.
The terms of the deal were undisclosed. The Falcons are expected to make an official announcement on Saturday.
By signing Robinson, the Falcons are hoping to improve their pass defense which ranked 28th in the league last season, giving up 241.9 yards per game. The Falcons also re-signed cornerback Brian Williams to a one-year contract on Thursday.
At the NFL scouting combine last Thursday, Falcons head coach Mike Smith said that the pass defense would be improved.
“We did not play the pass as well as we’d like,” Smith said. “It’s something that we definitely have to address. Statistically we were not close to where we need to be or want to be. I think that’s twofold. One, we address the pass rush and number two, is that we improve our secondary play. Those are areas that we definitely will want to address.”
The Falcons are hoping the return of defensive tackle Peria Jerry will help improve their pass rush. The signing of Robinson clearly is designed to improve the coverage.
“That’s very important for us,” said Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff, when asked if the pass defense suffered because the rush or because of lacking coverage. “So we get Peria back and he’s healing up well and he’ll continue to solidify our defensive line. At that point, if we feel comfortable with that, we will have to seriously look at . . . there are other positions on defense as well.”
Robinson’s deal in expected to be lucrative. He turned down a contract with $23 million in guarantees last season before Houston placed the franchise tag him. Last season, he made $9.957 million after not participating in the offseason program because of the dispute over his contract.
Last season, he covered the opponent’s best receiver and played on both the right and left sides of the field.
Robinson played at Clarke Central High before going onto star at the University of South Carolina. He was the 10th player selected in the 2004 draft by the Texans.
Robinson was an immediate starter in the NFL at right cornerback, making all 16 starts as rookie.
Robinson turns 27 in April and would have to now be considered the Falcons’ No. 1 cornerback.
The Falcons finished last season with rookie Christopher Owens and second-year player Brent Grimes starting at cornerback. Chevis Jackson played in the slot. Other cornerbacks on the roster include Chris Houston, who started on the right side for most of the last three seasons, and Tye Hill, another former first round pick.
The Texans elected to let Robinson enter free agency this year. He would have commanded near $12 million for next season if they’d slapped the franchise tag on him again.