Safety James Sanders agreed to a one-year contract with the Falcons on Tuesday, according to his agent Gary Uberstine.
He worked out for the team on Tuesday after being released by the New England Patriots on Monday.
Since being drafted in the fourth-round of the 2005 draft, he’s played in 84 NFL games and has made 50 starts. He played in 15 games last season and made nine starts.
He was drafted by the Patriots when Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff was their director of college scouting.
Defensive back James Sanders, who was released by the New England Patriots, is set to visit the Falcons on Tuesday, the team confirmed.
Sanders, who was drafted by the Patriots in 2005 when Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff was with the team, plays strong safety. He can also play free safety.
“Tough release there with James Sanders,’’ New England coach Bill Belichick told the Boston Globe. “James has been a good guy to have on this team. A hard-working kid. He really has developed from the time he came to us as a draft choice from Fresno [State] and he’s been a really solid team player for us but we just, part of the move, needed to release people. But he was a tough one.’’
Sanders was drafted in the fourth round. In six seasons with the Patriots, he registered 301 tackles and eight interceptions in 84 regular-season games with 50 starts.
Sanders was slated to make $2.8 million with New England.
“Not a lot of negatives with James, but we have to select the players that we feel like are best for our team,’’ Belichick told the Globe.
The Falcons don’t have much experienced depth behind starting safeties William Moore and Thomas DeCoud. On the depth chart released for the final exhibition game, Rafael Bush, Rafael Priest and Matt Hansen are listed as the backup strong safeties behind Moore. Shann Schillinger and Suaesi Tuimaunei are listed as the backup free safeties behind DeCoud.
The Falcons have a competition at nickel back between Christopher Owens and Dominique Franks, but Sanders has not played the nickel back position.
The Falcons pass defense struggled against Pittsburgh; giving up touchdown passes of 77 and 44 yards. The pass defense ranked 22nd in the league last season.
–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog