Falcons trade for cornerback Asante Samuel

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

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

FLOWERY BRANCH — For Asante Samuel, it was a simple business matter.

Once his agent, Alonzo Shavers, and Falcons negotiator Nick Polk finished their numbers crunching, the Falcons traded a seventh-round pick in this year’s draft to the Philadelphia Eagles to complete the deal for the four-time Pro Bowler on Wednesday.

“I’m happy to be a Falcon,” said Samuel, who’ll be expected to help improve the team’s pass defense. “I know the city is embracing me. I’m excited. I know the Falcons already have an excellent team, excellent coaches, schemes and talent. I’m just going to add to [that and] try to get to the one common goal.”

The Falcons re-structured Samuel’s contract that called for him to make $9.9 million in 2012 and $11.4 million in 2013. They agreed to a three-year, $18.5 million deal.

“What was important for us was that he become a Falcon,” Shavers said. “From that standpoint, it was about as extensive as it gets. We were able to come up with something that they can live with and we can live with.”

Samuel said he doesn’t have a preference as to whether he plays left or right cornerback.

“I’m a confident guy,” Samuel said. “I’m going to always have confidence, and that’s how I play and how I operate on a daily basis. I’m going to come into this thing and be ready to compete.”

Over the past two seasons, Brent Grimes has played on the left side and Dunta Robinson has started on the right. The Falcons have struggled at nickel back as Brian Williams, Christopher Owens, Dominique Franks and Kelvin Hayden all played that spot over the past two seasons.

Falcons coach Mike Smith considers the nickel back to be a starter.

The Falcons have a lot of their salary cap tied up at cornerback, with Samuel and Robinson averaging $6 million apiece. On Tuesday, Grimes, signed his one-year, $10.281 million franchise tender.

Samuel believes the trio will work together just fine.

“I think it’s going to be good,” Samuel said. “Those guys are very talented and well-established. Brent Grimes is coming off the last two years. He’s adjusted and is making some big plays. Dunta has been doing his thing since he’s been there. … We are all going to come in and work together to make this thing the best that it’s ever been.”

Samuel, 31, was with the Patriots when Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff was the director of college scouting there. Dimitroff coveted Samuel last season, but the Eagles’ asking price — a second-round pick — was considered too steep at the time.

He was drafted by the Patriots in the fourth round (120th overall) of the 2003 draft out of Central Florida.

“We talked every time that we played each other,” Samuel said of Dimitroff. “That definitely had a lot to do with it. He definitely made me feel comfortable.”

Dimitroff was elated to pull of the trade. “Asante has established himself as a very productive player during his career,” Dimitroff said. “He is a proven player in this league, and we feel that this move upgrades the talent of our roster.”

Samuel’s days in Philadelphia were numbered after they signed Nnamdi Asomugha and acquired Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in July. The Eagles had tried to trade him since.

Samuel didn’t endear himself to management when he said the Eagles were “playing fantasy football with the owner’s money.”

However, Samuel said he enjoyed his time with the Eagles and had no hard feelings toward the organization.

“I know everybody can’t figure why this is happening and why it is going this way, but business is business,” Samuel said.

Samuel has 45 career interceptions in nine seasons, fourth among active players. His 38 interceptions since 2006 lead the league.

 

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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317 comments Add your comment

LastPLace

April 25th, 2012
8:39 am

Last! Booyah

LastPLace

April 25th, 2012
8:40 am

Oh wait, I must be lost…

My Thoughts

April 25th, 2012
8:40 am

When we sign him do we see a trade of someone else for draft picks ??

SeenThisBFalcon

April 25th, 2012
8:43 am

Oh hell f ya…NOWS THAT WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT GO FALCONS…TIME TO RISE UP!!!!!

SeenThisBFalcon

April 25th, 2012
8:44 am

I’M DEFINITELY GETTING MY TICKETS NOW!!!!!

freedyg

April 25th, 2012
8:45 am

PMC

April 25th, 2012
8:48 am

Splash Splash Splash.

Interesting they would get a CB on the first week of OTA’s.

They have a pattern though. They make moves like these to shore up need positions before the draft so that if high value guys fall they are in the position where they can make that move.

Samuel is the kind of player they need underneath. A risk taking ball hawk.

jay

April 25th, 2012
8:48 am

this is our first round pick. Now please stop all the bishing about trading away our draft.

Falkor

April 25th, 2012
8:48 am

I love this move, but I think that it will lead to Ovie being cut as a cap casualty

Rod "straight outta Augusta" Johnson

April 25th, 2012
8:51 am

I don’t think we need anymore draft picks. We have enough guys with little game time experience. It’s obvious TD has gone into a win now mode. Let’s face the facts here, this is probably Gonzo last year. McClure, Abraham, Clabo, Babs, White, and Turner are not getting any younger. How often do teams showcase a Hall of Fame TE, 2 GREAT WRs, and an awesome RB? Yep, time is now.

I like the potential of Asante coming to Atlanta. He is a great physical guy and demands a lot of respect in this league. My biggest fear is our secondary of the future (DFranks and DWalls) development being staggered for those 2 yrs. Both guys are primed to be great contributors for years to come.

jay

April 25th, 2012
8:51 am

Falkor, I think all Falcons fans love Ovie, but he is overpaid and coming off a bad knee injury. Hopfeully he will just restructure.

kappellmeister

April 25th, 2012
8:53 am

Guess Mr. Grimes couldn’t sign his tender fast enough once all this came to light. His girl must have finally given him permission.

Oh, and fire Herschel Talker.

Jay

April 25th, 2012
8:53 am

Yes Sir! Trust in our Front Office! We need to attitude on this defense also, great move

Falcon Man

April 25th, 2012
8:55 am

Get it done Thomas !!!

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution [...]

Falcon 4 Life

April 25th, 2012
9:08 am

Thank you TD. I still think you had not done enough, until this trade! You have restored my faith! I was not calling for any heads, as you may note, but, I was and still am calling for a righting of the SHIP! GO FALCONS!

Trippmeister

April 25th, 2012
9:08 am

This is an awesome move! I’ll place a first bet for a passing defense that will now be in the top ten. Now we can concentrate on OL, DL & TE in draft.
Also, I have a good friend who has been a season ticket holder for years and he has been diagnosed with multiple tumors. With his time limited, a championship season would be a sure-fire way of putting a smile on his face. Thank you all for any prayer support – get well Alyn!! Rise up Falcons!

TD Mike

April 25th, 2012
9:08 am

Woo Hoo! Welcome to Atlanta!

THE INFAMOUS DK

April 25th, 2012
9:12 am

You have a few candidates you can let the door hit em where the good Lord split em and to make this deal happen.

Joe

April 25th, 2012
9:14 am

Woot Woot!! Yo Momma’s on Crack Rock!!

THE INFAMOUS DK

April 25th, 2012
9:15 am

Man damn Ovie-paid! Bye Sir. And Sam Baker needs to be holding hands with him as he walks out or is tossed out the door.

Falkor

April 25th, 2012
9:19 am

This move shows us the focus of Mike Nolan and his Defensive scheme. We weren’t willing to pay Lofton big money as a middle linebacker because it is not a position of emphasis in Nolan’s D, but in today’s NFL that money is well spent on a trio of solid CB’s.

I like it, and I have confidence in the direction we have taken.

Stank Wren

April 25th, 2012
9:22 am

If Grimes plays under the franchise tag, Falcons will have almost $30 million tied up in the combined salary of Grimes, Samuel, and Robinson. That is one pricy secondary

Stank Wren

April 25th, 2012
9:22 am

$30 million in 2012

SeenThisBFalcon

April 25th, 2012
9:24 am

Its about time go Falcons…..

fansince74

April 25th, 2012
9:25 am

The Falcons suddenly have a very, very good secondary!

THE INFAMOUS DK

April 25th, 2012
9:30 am

Let Grimes play under the franchise tag this year. Then if he doesnt work out this year in the scheme. You owe him nothing. And that gives you one more year to develope Franks and Walls. Walls brings the pain and is a tall physical corner. His development this year will be critical. They are setting Grimes up for the okie doke and he’s listening to that greedy broad of his.

David

April 25th, 2012
9:32 am

He’s old but nonetheless this is helluva move by the birds to get a damn good CB for a low level pick! He makes our entire defense better and gives us a very good trio of CB! I am very happy with this move and hopefully our new agressive defense can give our secondary more opportunities for TO

Chub Rock

April 25th, 2012
9:34 am

Dunta Robinson better be in outstanding shape this season because every ball will be thrown in his direction.

Glenn

April 25th, 2012
9:39 am

Cox could move into the starting fullback role as he showed he could handle the position well the end of the year in Atlanta as well as his playing time in KC. Couple that with the fact that Atlanta will be going more into a spread offense with Rodgers and multiple wideouts at the same time on the field together, then the fullback role will become less important. That should allow for one reduction in a higher salary right off the get-go. Getting a long-term deal in place with Grimes and Samuel could reduce both of their annuals, and I would venture to guess another player or two, like Ryan, would also be willing to restructure to get additional dollars to get this deal done.

Bluto

April 25th, 2012
9:41 am

Waiting for Aints fans to show up and crap on this….

Gwinnett Fred

April 25th, 2012
9:44 am

Certainly something to get excited about – but the linebackers better get ready to do a lot of tackling of running backs!

Joe

April 25th, 2012
9:45 am

I just pooped a bit….

Gwinnett Fred

April 25th, 2012
9:46 am

Bluto: Between boumties, cheating (felony activity really) and early playoff departures the last 2 years – Aint’s fans don’t have a whole lot to be saying right now.

Like Wut I See

April 25th, 2012
9:52 am

Somrtimes moves do not work out, but the Falcons at least try and do not just sit back. I believe in this organization and Arthur Blank. Unlike the Hawks who just stand pat and trade picks for cash, the Falcons organization is about trying to contend for the CHIP. Great job !!!

Dr. Warren

April 25th, 2012
9:55 am

The truth is, with Samuel, the Falcons would have 2 solid cornerbacks + Dunte Robinson. Yet, if Ray Edwards comes through in the new defense, Abraham can hold up somehow, and we can replace Lofton’s production, we should at least be a middle-of-the-pack defense.

SirReal

April 25th, 2012
9:56 am

@David Geez when did 31 become ancient?lol Champ Bailey’s like 36 and still plays at a high level. Think maybe Samuel could be something similar? :)
I like the move for a few reasons:
1) This puts pressure on both Grimes and Robinson. Grimes has to play up to that tender and set himself up for a new deal. Robinson just flat out has to play with some sense or he’ll be cut next year. I think he knows it too. Its time for him to stop hustling Blank and actually show some semblance of living up to his contract.
2) Depth depth depth!!! We’d have 3 guys who together, though pricey, would and should be significantly better this year.
3) With the QBs we face this year….we had to have another guy with good experience. This should slow down that Aints offense, keep Cam half-caged, and make Freeman sweat a bit
4) Last but certainly not least, IT WOULD BRING A PLAYER TO OUR LOCKER ROOM THATS ACTUALLY BEEN SOMEWHERE AND HAS THE RINGS TO PROVE IT!! We need more vets that have been to the post season especially in the secondary.

FalconsRealFan

April 25th, 2012
10:00 am

everybody crapping on ovie….the running game took a nosedive when he got injured. He’s a valuable blocker who can catch the ball out the backfield.

Ask Turner last year if he really missed Ovie.

I bet Turner and the rest of backfield will be glad to see him back

SirReal

April 25th, 2012
10:00 am

It’ll be expensive this year but I guarantee you that 1 of 3 willo be gone the next..my guess is Robinson…..I’ve been totallyt disappointed in him the last couple years. Hopefully he gets some cleats without grease on the bottom of them this year.

THE INFAMOUS DK

April 25th, 2012
10:10 am

Ovie is a great full bck but we PAID too much for a fullback.

The Falcons will be in ore of a 3-4 at times anyway so the Samuel move makes sense.

PMC

April 25th, 2012
10:16 am

If Louis Delmas horribly uncoordinated submarine dive at Ovie’s kneecap wasn’t an indicator that Ovie was worth it (0 offensive pts in a playoff game) I don’t know what would be. Oh he didn’t mean it. Sure, he just tripped slipped and aimed his helmet strait into Ovie’s knee.

Sorry Lou, either you meant to, or you are incredibly clumsy.

Now Ovie may not be able to make a living in the NFL anymore.

D man

April 25th, 2012
10:16 am

Great news, now if we can shore up the O-line, we will be a great team with a real shot at the SB. Go Falcons… Hey, where are all of those Saints fans that used to be here? :)

falconsrelax

April 25th, 2012
10:20 am

This is a great pickup and TD does and shows it again. STanding ovation because this is the NFL. 3 good CBs and TD does all of this in a year with getting one of the best defensive coordinators in the league. We have a good shot now. Making moves and taking names. Will be an exciting season

The Grinch

April 25th, 2012
10:21 am

At this point even the most negative fans can’t say Blank isn’t doing his best to make us happy.

Samuel L. Jackson

April 25th, 2012
10:21 am

Gwinnett Fred,

Considering the Falcons playoff woes, are you really bringing up another team’s early playoff exit? REALLY ?!?!?!?!?! (by the way you do realize the Saints won in the 1st rd to advance to play SF, something this Falcon regime has been woefully incapable of in Atlanta)

This message board is always good for a laugh, consistently full of some of the least intelligent football talk of any team in the league lol

Hamp

April 25th, 2012
10:23 am

Good move when there are no stud pass rushers out there. this is the next best thing Obs will have to pick their poison and I think if we go with more bump and run/man you will see dunta come alive that is where he made a living and we paid all that money to stick him in a zone. All things said about dunta are correct but to his credit we have wasted valuable years playing him out of postion. People better step up or Blank will clean house next year top to bottom. I really got off the ledge and left the roof if this is true. We will be Ok we desparatley need a LT, OG and a NT for a few snaps.

Samuel L. Jackson

April 25th, 2012
10:24 am

Grimes is still the best CB on Atlanta’s roster even with this deal. Robinson was never that good in Houston (go look up his numbers, he had 1 good season and hasn’t done squat since). For the life of me I can’t understand why the local media and fans swore they were getting the 2nd coming of Deion when they vastly overpaid for Robinson.

Samuel L. Jackson

April 25th, 2012
10:32 am

Robinson had 6 INT’s, 3 forced fumbles, and 19 passes defensed his rookie year in 04. Since then he has never had more than 2 INT’s in any season and his high for passes defensed was 12 in 06. And don’t make the remark that people weren’t throwing his way anymore, for a CB he has a large number of tackles made which indicates people aren’t throwing away from him, he just doesn’t make any big plays

section322

April 25th, 2012
10:33 am

Okay now you LOOOOOOVE TD!!!! Last week you wanted him stoned to death.

$lim Goody

April 25th, 2012
10:39 am

Great Move!! We needed a Veteran to shore up the defense!! now we need another run stuffer and develop a pass rusher!! We need a O Lineman to protect Matt and I think we are ready to RISE UP!!