Brent Grimes has signed his franchise tender

Associated Press photo Eagles cornerback Asante Samuel runs with the ball after intercepting a pass during a game against the Falcons last season. Associated Press.

Associated Press photo Eagles cornerback Asante Samuel runs with the ball after intercepting a pass during a game against the Falcons last season. Associated Press.

FLOWERY BRANCH –  Falcons cornerback Brent Grimes signed his franchise tender on Tuesday.

Also, the Falcons are in trade discussions to acquire cornerback Asante Samuel from the Philadelphia Eagles.

The team is set to make players available after their second day of the offseason training program and could announce the trade for Samuel at that time if the deal doesn’t fall through.

Grimes did not attend the start of the Falcons’ voluntary offseason training program on Monday.  Grimes is set to make $10.281 million this season. It is unclear if both sides will continue to negotiate toward a long-term deal.

In early March, the Falcons placed the franchise tag on Grimes, which guaranteed that he’d make the salary of the top five cornerbacks in the league.

Samuel, 31, was with the Patriots when Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff was the director of college scouting. Dimitroff has coveted him in the past, but the trade price was considered too high by the Falcons.

The Eagles asking price has reportedly dropped to a late-round draft pick, perhaps the Falcons’ (non compensatory) seventh rounder. The snag could be if the Falcons are able to renegotiate a new contract with Samuel.

Grimes and Dunta Robinson were the starting cornerbacks for much of the past two seasons. The Falcons have had trouble finding a third cornerback.

Over the last two seasons, Brian Williams, Christopher Owens, Dominique Franks and Kelvin Hayden have all played the nickel back position.

If the Falcons are able to land Samuel they would have a solid trio of cornerbacks.

Falcons coach Mike Smith has noted that the nickel back is considered a starter because the team plays more downs in their nickel package than they do in their base defense.

Samuel is set to make $9.9 million in base salary this year and is set to make $11.4 next season.

Samuel, 5-foot-10 and 185 pounds, was drafted by the Patriots in the fourth-round (120th overall) of the 2003 draft out of Central Florida.

He played for the Patriots (2003-07) before playing for the Eagles (2008-11). He has been selected to four Pro Bowls and was named an All-Pro after the 2007 season.

Samuel is noted for his ball-hawking skills. He has 45 career interceptions. He led the league with 10 interceptions in 2006 and with nine in 2009.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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90 comments Add your comment

Matt

April 24th, 2012
10:55 am

well, that could definitely help. Grimes and Samuel all of the sudden would make out secondary rather decent. Not terrific, but probably good enough.

Matt

April 24th, 2012
10:56 am

of course, it also depends on who or what we have to give up. It’s not like we have many draft picks to toss around.

Larry

April 24th, 2012
10:58 am

Matt,

Are you on durgs?

Asante, Grimes, Robinson and Moore would give the Falcons likely a top 5 defensive backfield in the NFL. We still can’t rush the QB or protect our QB but we could bat a lot more balls away!

MillerTime

April 24th, 2012
11:00 am

I will take Asante for a 5th pick.

Jeff B

April 24th, 2012
11:01 am

This would rock. Contrary to what some other fans are saying, I don’t think this means we are getting rid of Grimes. We’d have to get creative with the contract structure, but the Saints have shown it can be done.

Billy Bob

April 24th, 2012
11:02 am

This would be a welcomed addition. Are the Birds really going to walk the walk? Or just talk? This plus the visit by Aubrayo franklin yesterday is pleasing after the lame duck Free Agent signing period. We had better do something because our division and schedule are tough. Go Birds!!

txdawg

April 24th, 2012
11:09 am

In TD we trust. He knows what he is doing. This is great… cannot wait to see how all of this plays out. These moves could drastically effect the draft!

Ummm

April 24th, 2012
11:09 am

Asante Samuel plays D End now??

Big Ron

April 24th, 2012
11:10 am

Love the move if it happens all the sudden were loaded in the secondary now we can really focus on beefing up both lines.

Joe Tess Fish House

April 24th, 2012
11:11 am

He is anoter cheep shot artist like D Roberson. This will B a hugh misteak if they keep traying a way there draft for players that will not contribute.

Dont do it Mr Dummytrof!

Op Ed

April 24th, 2012
11:17 am

If TD can pull it off, I welcome the move. AS plays with mojo and would energize our stoic group.

Fan1 Fan2

April 24th, 2012
11:17 am

YES YES YES!!!!! Just what we need. Get Edwards and Abe healthy and Lofa roaming the middle with Spooooon and we will be crushing!

BamaGuy

April 24th, 2012
11:18 am

This would be the right move at the right time…He will come at a cost that we can absorb with no long term consequences even if it doesn’t work out which I think it totally will…We have plenty of ways to create salary so don’t fool yourself into thinking that we cant afford this guy because we can…A move like this could quickly propel us as far as getting our D to a place where we make a big jump in this league…a 5th rounder or even a 4th is not going to come close to having the effect that Samuel will have on our D…If we pull this off…WOW….Obviously, Our Owner and GM are trying to do everything they can for us to WIN a championship…RIGHT NOW

Josh B

April 24th, 2012
11:23 am

Darnit I didn’t want Grimes to sign that 10 million tender..less money for Asante..hopefully they’ll do some serious contract restructuring..Havin Dunta, Grimes, Asante, Moore and Decoud will be beast

Paddy

April 24th, 2012
11:24 am

Joe Tess…….why even bother coming around after you said you would never post again on anything Falcons. You have no credibility. If a man says he will do something and then does not, it goes to the character of that man! Just leave us alone like you promised, ok!

Joe Tess Fish House

April 24th, 2012
11:25 am

Now that Grimes has sighed there is no need 2 trady for Samauel. Bringing him in would be a misteak. He is a cheep shot artist and we alraedy have 1 of those

Mr. Phil

April 24th, 2012
11:25 am

This is a no-brainer for a fifth rounder or lower. But I guess that will end our free agency ideas. And wow what a salary cap hit.

Mr. Phil

April 24th, 2012
11:26 am

Joe Tess,

Apparently cheap shot artists win superbowls. Ask the Taints.

[...] agent, said he wouldn’t sign the tender. That has changed, apparently, since Grimes has officially signed the tender and is scheduled to make $10.262 million this upcoming [...]

BamaGuy

April 24th, 2012
11:26 am

Ummm
April 24th, 2012
11:09 am

Asante Samuel plays D End now??

What was the name and the production of that GB DE when they won a super bowl? How about NE’s when they won their Trophy or New Orleans? A dominant DE doesn’t have to be in place to win the Trophy…Although, I believe Abe is still a force and Edwards will rebound…I have faith in our GM and I do not feel a DE puts us over the hump as much as a physical CB who will be on the field just as much will…I just don’t..We rotate our DE just too much…

Joe Tess Fish House
April 24th, 2012
11:11 am

He is anoter cheep shot artist like D Roberson. This will B a hugh misteak if they keep traying a way there draft for players that will not contribute.

I refuse to even address this….

Dont do it Mr Dummytrof!

Carlun

April 24th, 2012
11:27 am

Matt u really are on something…….falcons would have top 5 def…..period!!

Mike

April 24th, 2012
11:31 am

I got a feeling that this story isnt over yet. By a long shot, besides there is no way that his sign his tender after he heard the rumors.

SirReal

April 24th, 2012
11:31 am

@Matt You’re drunk. I understand. :)

What I find funny is that Grimes ran and signed it once he heard we were in play for Samuel (if its true or not TD used his leverage quite well.) I never understood how guys couldnt be happy with making in ONE season what some guys wont see their whole careers! I understand its a business but in ANY facet of life…if you do the right thing, right will be done to you. I hope we’re still in play for Samuel as he’d be a SIGNIFICANT upgrade in the secondary and our nickel packages would look real nice! :)

BrianFellows

April 24th, 2012
11:32 am

I think Samuel will definitely be better than Grimes for at least this year and next, and Grimes doesnt want to be here. Regardless of what we trade (likely very little) the problem remains that Samuels is owed 10MM this year (what we would have to pay Grimes anyway) and $11.5 next. Samuels can nix any trade, and would have to agree to take less to play for the Falcons to make this work.

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/04/21/eagles-willing-to-take-whatever-they-can-get-for-asante-samuel/

BamaGuy

April 24th, 2012
11:34 am

Mr. Phil
April 24th, 2012
11:25 am

This is a no-brainer for a fifth rounder or lower. But I guess that will end our free agency ideas. And wow what a salary cap hit.

I think our Free Agency was over anyway…No one out there that was going to step in and start like Samuels will…As far as the cap…Who cares…Every year is new and Samuels deal will be short and who knows what we will do next year and who cares…I want to go for it now…this what kills me about ATL fans they always worry about years down the road and about non football issues instead of being pumped that our team is going for a championship right now…There are ways to mange a roster especially when your dealing with 1 and 2 year contracts like Grimes and Samuels…Lets for once be excited about being aggressive and going for it…

Mikefalcon63

April 24th, 2012
11:36 am

Do the Eagirls need a fullback, tailback or receiver? I could even see dangling Dunta Robinson for trade bait. Turner for Samuel seems reasonable. Or Roddy for Samuel plus a draft pick?

Ummm

April 24th, 2012
11:36 am

@BamaGuy … You mean Clay Matthews getting heat on Rothliesberger, along with BJ Raji getting push up the middle? Richard Seymour getting push up the middle for the Pats. I’ll give you New Orleans. The Giants have won two in the past five years with a dominate pass rush. It starts up front in the passing league. I’ll agree to disagree. This is a bad move and apparently it was just used to force Grimes, our 5-6 cornerbacks, hand.

[...] D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Falcons CB Brent Grimes has signed his franchise tender which will pay him $10.431 million for the 2012 season. [...]

yourpoliticalanimal

April 24th, 2012
11:39 am

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ…Wake me when the Bills pick @ #10…thanx…now how many children does Jenoris Jenkins have and by how many different women???…

BamaGuy

April 24th, 2012
11:43 am

Ummmm….We can disagree, However, the guys you mentioned are not true DE’s…Anyway, as you proved pressure can come from many places…I don’t think the Falcons are just trying to force Grimes’ hand…I think we are in need of another corner that can start like Nolan has alluded to..What do we lose by doing this? A late round pick for a starter? Cap flexability this year when we do not seem to be using it anyway? As far as next years cap, we have no idea what it will be plus as I stated these are 1 and 2 year deals that can and will be either off the books or moved…Not to mention that our roster will change and free up more money…I am only concerned about long term contract with lots of money tied up for multiple years…Neither of these apply here

Joe Tess Fish House

April 24th, 2012
11:45 am

Can we give them Perrier Jerry and D Roberson?

PMC

April 24th, 2012
11:46 am

ha, this is exactly what i said this morning. :) Happy to have you in the fold Brent Grimes.

Enjoy the good life, YOU EARNED IT!

Joe Tess Fish House

April 24th, 2012
11:50 am

Paddy win did I say I was not coming back? U all no I am a big Flacons fan and I can never adboandon the team. I dont agree with a lot of thigs they do but I am still here 4 them.

Besides I was rite about Perrier Jerry being a bust cuz they brought that guy in on Monday.

Matt

April 24th, 2012
11:51 am

Not on drugs, completely sober, just wary of older players. Samuel is 33. His best years are behind him, but is still a very good player. Grimes is very good, but not a top-flight CB. Robinson has been a disappointment to say the least. It would be a very good secondary with Samuel. Philly had him AND Rodgers-Cromartie, AND Asomaughhawsfujbujbsdaf (however you spell it) and they missed the playoffs.

However, I hear he can be acquired for a late round draft pick as it’s mostly a salary dump for Philly. Atlanta doesn’t have the cap space to fit him in here without restructuring a lot of contracts. That is a very real sticking point. We’re up against the cap. Assante Samuel doesn’t play defensive end, he doesn’t play middle linebacker and he doesn’t play left tackle either.

I try not to get too excited or disappointed in either direction.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m 110% FOR doing this deal. I think it’s the best option we have moving forward in shoring up our leaky secondary. If he can be had for a late-round pick, it’s a no-brainer indeed. However, for a team up against the cap, there’s a certain degree of risk involved here. I just don’t think it would instantly make our secondary one of the best in the league. Last time I checked, the safeties are part of the secondary too.

PMC

April 24th, 2012
11:51 am

Joe Tess is a good fan, he’s always here giving his opinion. If he didn’t care he wouldn’t give it.

EffeX05

April 24th, 2012
11:53 am

Do it!!!!!! Bring in Asante for a low pick and the Falcons will have one of the better units in the league. Plus even though a lot of people want to get rid of Dunta Robinson, I say we keep him not only because of the money we have tied up in him but also te Birds could slide him to safety! Which is a weakness for them.

Georgiadad

April 24th, 2012
12:02 pm

Packers just cut loose Chad Clifton — a top OT. He’s from TN, so might like the chance of moving South and closer to home. Is he damaged goods or can he still play?

Fan1 Fan2

April 24th, 2012
12:09 pm

Dunta knocks heads. He is an intimidating force across the middle. We should be more appreciative.

Tony

April 24th, 2012
12:11 pm

This would be a great move for the Falcons. Grimes missed games last year and we had no one to fill that void. Also Dunta Robinson has played safety before and hits like a safety so move him. There are a number of options if Samuel is picked up. Also lets consider that most NFL teams run 3 to 4 receivers sets. ie saints, that killed us.. Giants.. that killed us…. Good move.. go for it. Give up a 5th round pick..

Rip

April 24th, 2012
12:12 pm

This is interesting, since D. Robinson is ahead hunter, maybe we move him to strong safety

SeminoleWarrior

April 24th, 2012
12:12 pm

This move would be a major mistake.

OL and DL need to be the focus. If we wanted to go after a solid CB to play the nickel or move Grimes over to the nickel, we could have signed RIchard Marshall as a free agent.

Miami got Marshall, a very good CB, for the same price over THREE years that we will be paying Grimes and Robinson for ONE year.

And what does this do for the cap going forward. This team is going backwards!! Instead of trying to get a solid base hit and sustain the flow of the game, Flowery Branch is hell bent on hitting the home run.

I sense a strikeout….

Jtothed83

April 24th, 2012
12:17 pm

Apparently this news is BLOWING up everywhere. I like the trade for a 6th round.Even a 5th. Money situation should be able to be worked out with a long term backloaded deal to Grimes and maybe a Matty Ice restructure. Now lets draft some D linemen, TE and a RB and go win some playoff games.

Mr. Phil

April 24th, 2012
12:18 pm

“Clifton had offseason back surgery and failed a team physical, sources told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, who initially reported Clifton would be released. “

Khaos

April 24th, 2012
12:23 pm

Can Grimes play DE? Can Samuels keep Ryan’s jersey clean?

Fire Smitty and Dimitroff

Blue Fender

April 24th, 2012
12:33 pm

Joe Tess…it’s getting old. Get a life and quit trolling.

Joe Tess Fish House

April 24th, 2012
12:44 pm

Trolling? LOLOLO!!!!

Im here 2 tlak football not troll like U If U R unhapy with what I say then U shoulf just go a way!

Phil

April 24th, 2012
12:52 pm

Matt — FYI — Samuel is 31, not 33. Go easy on us old guys…

Greg

April 24th, 2012
12:58 pm

As a couple people have implied, I think this move would have less to do with the rotation to a 5 DB formation than it has to do with the right corner position. It’s not that Asante would become the 5th DB, it’s that Dunte would become the 5th DB. On his worst day, Asante is a better cover corner than Dunte. If we sign Asante, he would be our new right corner. However, Asante is not as quick as he used to be, and paying him anywhere near $11+ million would be utter foolishness, especially given the cap we are living under. Still, given the money mismanagement we’ve seen from TD so far, nothing would surprise me.

Joey M

April 24th, 2012
12:59 pm

I have a question. Why can’t we get a couple of track stars and sign them? One could play corner and one could return kicks. You can’t teach speed. You can teach fundamentals. I’m not against signing Samuel. With the right rotation, I think he could be a pleasant addition.

Tony

April 24th, 2012
1:00 pm

Harvey Dahl should have been resigned… Ok.. from a football perspective… If you have good coverage guys then the QB has to hold the ball longer which leads to a sack… The Falcons were weak in the secondary so the QB can get rid of of the ball…or have a dump off,,, Samuel is a good cover guy…As far as Matt Ryan.. the offense has to adjust…. input more delay handoffs, no huddle, and screens..since we are weak on the OL….. This will cause the defense to slow down their rush and give Ryan more time to find an open White or Jones… until we get the line together.. possibly draft a few late round OL…. also make Robinson and Edwards restructure their deals…