Question: Should the Falcons pursue CB Dunta Robinson?

We all — I’m as guilty as anyone — get excited about the NFL draft, but football  is different from, say, basketball. In the NBA the draft comes before free agency. In the NFL free agency comes first. A team’s draft needs can change depending on its signees (or lack thereof).

I mention this because a big-name cornerback with Georgia ties is about to come available. Dunta Robinson was born in Athens; he played at Clarke Central and then at South Carolina. Houston drafted him with the 10th pick of Round 1 in 2004 and he has been a Texan for six seasons. The club, however, has declined to place the “franchise player” tag on him this winter, which essentially means he’ll be a free agent.

The Falcons, as mentioned yesterday, are perceived as needing a CB. Robinson is a good — not great — cornerback who’s only 27 and who might have interest in playing for a Georgia-based team. But here’s the thing: Robinson places a high value on his worth.

When tagged a franchise player last season, Robinson wound up skipping training camp before signing a one-year contract for $9.9 million. Having signed, he worked the Texans’ 2009 opener wearing shoes bearing the message “Pay Me Rick.” (Rick Smith is the Texans’ general manager.)

Should the Falcons pursue Dunta Robinson?

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Would the Falcons have an interest? I’m guessing — and this is just me guessing, OK? — the answer is no. Because Robinson is going to want No. 1 cornerback money having become a free agent at last, and we received a tutorial last season when the Falcons had a chance to keep Domonique Foxworth, a good-but-not-great cornerback who wanted big money. He wound up signing with Baltimore for $28 million over four seasons, with almost $17 million of that money guaranteed.

Some Falcons fans bemoaned Foxworth’s absence last season as the team’s young cornerbacks appeared overmatched, but the organization itself hasn’t second-guessed itself. That was, the Falcons insisted (and still insist), too much to pay for a 26-year-old cornerback who wasn’t of Pro Bowl caliber. Robinson, you should know, has never made the Pro Bowl.

The guess here  is that Thomas Dimitroff would rather take his chances on a cornerback in the draft than spend $30 million on a veteran who might not be a major upgrade. (As noted yesterday, the Falcons do want to keep Brian Williams, who was injured last season and who’s a free agent now, but he won’t demand or command No. 1 cornerback money.) And I say again: The two words apt to kill any conversation at Falcons HQ are “DeAngelo Hall,” and he, if memory serves, was a cornerback who held himself in high esteem.

Said Dimitroff, who’s headed to the NFL combine in Indianapolis: “I’m pleased with this group of cornerbacks. I feel good about the corners apt to be there [in the draft].” That doesn’t mean he’ll take one in Round 1. But I’m guessing it means he believes there are younger and cheaper and better options than Dunta Robinson.

105 comments Add your comment

Smyrna Jacket

February 25th, 2010
9:41 am

Curious George

February 25th, 2010
9:42 am

AM I FIRST?!?

Curious George

February 25th, 2010
9:42 am

Am I disappointed?

Mark Bradley

February 25th, 2010
9:42 am

Curious, I’m sorry to say you were second. Kudos to Smyrna Jacket for taking the honors. Such as they might be.

TX Dawg

February 25th, 2010
9:43 am

Smyrna Jacket

February 25th, 2010
9:43 am

move Babs to DE (he is our best pass rusher and is only 280 lbs) and draft Mount Cody.

And get rid of the arena league uniforms. The throwbacks look great.

TX Dawg

February 25th, 2010
9:43 am

shouldn’t have read the story first…..lol

Curious George

February 25th, 2010
9:44 am

Does character TRULY count under the Falcons’ Dimitroff Regime?

TX Dawg

February 25th, 2010
9:44 am

Interesting though, I remember when the Falcons were considering drafting Robinson. I agree that he’s not worth #1 or Pro-Bowl cornerback money.

Mark Bradley

February 25th, 2010
9:48 am

Reading the story is never advised, TX Dawg.

Mark Bradley

February 25th, 2010
9:49 am

I don’t know about Mount Cody, Smyrna Jacket. He’s weighing over 350 pounds, and the Falcons are a 4-3 team. Not sure he’d fit here. Especially not will Peria Jerry on the squad already.

Blindog

February 25th, 2010
9:51 am

Sounds like he would be a problem we don’t need!

Billy Ray Valentine....Capricorn

February 25th, 2010
9:52 am

No to Dunta. Look at the photo above closely. He didn’t write “Pay Me Rick” in black magic marker just before the game. He had those shoes made. Meaning, he thought about it and, upon reflection, decided that this was a good approach. Spur of the moment dumb actions are one thing, but planned in advance dumb actions are another. No thanks.

PreyDawg

February 25th, 2010
9:54 am

Nope Mark. This doesnt fit the model. Doesnt fit in with the process. You are right in your guess. They are not going to pay #1 Money for a #2 and why should they? Maybe I am crazy, but I was very encouraged by the play of the corners down the stretch. Granted they were horrendous around the midway point of the season. But they got better. A whole lot better. Because of that, I dont even agree that we have to take a corner first. I want CJ Spillers. He can do what Norwood should do if Norwood stayed healthy and would quit falling down in open field. Give me more points on offense first.

With Moore and Jerry coming back and Sidbury spending an off season in the weight room and Bierman coming on…this defense will already be a whole lot better. And dont forget the very solid FA corner we had that got hurt when he was doing very well early in the season. Draft Offense. We are not nearly explosive enough.

El Bravo

February 25th, 2010
9:55 am

I agree with Dimitroff’s perspective on cornerbacks. The good ones are overvalued and the great ones almost non-existent. You can mask deficiencies at CB with good defensive schemas (see Steelers). If you are going to over-spend you are better off throwing money at the D-Line… MB, did you get a chance to ask Dimitroff about our defensive philosophy for next year (beign that coach Smitty is a 3-4 guy and we are still running the 4-3 here)? If so, there are a lot of very talented 3-4 DEs available on the draft this year that should be there when we pick…

MCBubba

February 25th, 2010
9:58 am

Brandon Ghee, Wake Forest; round 3 or 4.

F-105 Thunderchief

February 25th, 2010
9:58 am

Pass. We don’t need another MeAngelo. The best South Carolina DB was Captain Munnerlyn, who came out last year and whom the Falcons, or many other teams, are probably kicking themselves for not picking. Dude played a lot, played well and was a low-round draft choice.

Mark Bradley

February 25th, 2010
9:59 am

I didn’t ask about defensive philosophy, El Bravo. I’m just assuming the Falcons are committed to the 4-3. But I will ask soon.

Linkin

February 25th, 2010
10:05 am

I heard the Raiders are open to trading ND Asomugha, doubt ATL would drop that much money for him, but he is def the second coming of Deion Sanders. But without a legitimate pass rush,i guess a shutdown corner is a mootpoint. There will be some good but not great corners avail for a bargain after cuts are made. The young defense will mature before our eyes this season, barring on major injuries.

Mark Bradley

February 25th, 2010
10:06 am

Asomugha is a different story, Linkin. The Falcons would pay dearly to get him. (So would 30 other teams.)

SOUTH GA DAWG FAN

February 25th, 2010
10:08 am

stay away from meangelo types get pass rushers , and upgrades on offense that are not injury prone. do the falcons do much reasearch on injury prone players I know they do but last year was terrible , and look at Baker his entire career . I trust TD and Coach but haven’t all of the early round draft picks had considerable injuries not just the normal dings that you expect? oh yeah and the BUST we all know who he is cant quite remember who to blame him on though

Mike Jay

February 25th, 2010
10:08 am

enough with the Spiller fantasies. I keep hearing the Falcons should draft him and it is silly talk. You can not commit that kind of money to one positon. Turner gets paid a lot of $$$(second on the team behind matty ice). First round pics get paid a lot of $$$. You just can’t commit that much to the position or you will handicap the rest of the team. Especially with all the other holes that need shoring up.

Linkin

February 25th, 2010
10:09 am

yeah, i know, i guess my point was if they were going to cough up money for a big-time Corner, they would probably go after ND, instead of Robinson. Point well taken.. Staying with the topic of Cornerback (not Robinson), Antonio Cromartie would be solid but may fall into the category of overpriced, Ie Dunta Robinson.

timthebrave

February 25th, 2010
10:10 am

not for the money he will want. he is going to want pro bowl money even though he isn’t that good

Mark Bradley

February 25th, 2010
10:10 am

Yes, and Cromartie is believed to be available via trade, Linkin, as I’m sure you’re aware.

Mike in H-Town

February 25th, 2010
10:11 am

I have wanted this guy out of Houston even before the “Pay Me, Rick” incident. He is DeAngelo Hall, the sequel. Except Hall probably had more overall talent. After Dunta’s injury in 2007, he was never the same as before. Local radio out here even tried convincing Gary Kubiak to move him to Free Safety, as he didn’t have the speed to cover #1 WR’s anymore.

My advice is to stay far away and let Dallas or Washington overpay for him.

Mash

February 25th, 2010
10:11 am

Mark, I agree with most of your reasoning here. However, the Foxworth-Robinson comparison isn’t exactly apt. While Robinson may not be ‘Pro Bowl’ material, he’s clearly a few steps up from Foxworth. Plus, don’t overlook the key factor that 2010 is an uncapped year. Perhaps the Falcons organization will be willing to pay someone like Dunta Robinson $10 million a year. I haven’t heard how the Falcons brass strategy towards an uncapped year. Will they be like the Steelers and ‘act as if there is a cap’, or will they spend whatever they need to upgrade the defense? That’s a possible future blog topic for you.

Also, do you think the Falcons will pursue Darren Sharper? I heard the Saints don’t plan to franchise him either.

Mark Bradley

February 25th, 2010
10:11 am

Mike Jay, remember how much money the Falcons had committed to running backs when they signed Warrick Dunn and then drafted T.J. Duckett? Your point is extremely well taken.

TRAVIS

February 25th, 2010
10:12 am

I AGREE TRUST DIMITROFF HE FOUND CHIRS OWENS IN THIRD ROUND HE GONNA BE EVEN BETTER THIS YEAR HE MIGHT KNOW SOMETHING WE DON’T KNOW SO DIMTROFF AND SMITTY DO YOUR THING KEEP BUILDING THE TEAM JUST GET MATT RYAN SOME FAST RECVIER PLEASE

Linkin

February 25th, 2010
10:14 am

I guess we will all find out as soon as the free agency flood gates open. I would guess atleast one to two solid players will come to the Falcons via free agency. Pretty much all of the free agent pickups in the TD era have been well calculated and best bang for the buck senario.

Mark Bradley

February 25th, 2010
10:15 am

I’d agree the comparison between Robinson and Foxworth isn’t exact, Mash. (Robinson has had the better career.) But I offered the parallel as a possible window into the team’s thinking.

As for an uncapped year: I haven’t heard anyone in Flowery Branch say, “We’re going to spend every dime we have.” Even if there’s no cap, there’s still the New England paradigm that exists with Thomas Dimitroff: Don’t overpay; get rid of older guys a year too soon …

SOUTH GA DAWG FAN

February 25th, 2010
10:15 am

are there any FA corners out there that have played for Smith before his ex-players seem to work out pretty well.

Kurisu

February 25th, 2010
10:16 am

Mark,
Do you think John Abraham is worth a 2nd round pick? He only plays about a third of the game and the Falcons have a stable of backups, even drafted a DE last year. It would give the Falcons more flexiability in the draft. Maybe a DE in the first and a corner in the 2nd. I keep hearing it’s the best defensive draft ever.. Just a thought.

Kurisu

February 25th, 2010
10:16 am

Get rid of older guys sooner…like Abraham

Mark Bradley

February 25th, 2010
10:17 am

As for Darren Sharper: He’s 34. That’s pretty old for a DB.

SOUTH GA DAWG FAN

February 25th, 2010
10:17 am

no second round pick right ?

Bill

February 25th, 2010
10:18 am

No to Dunta. We have a good GM and Coach. I believe they know who they want and why, just got to make the parts come together with good picks and Free agents.

Thanks Mark for another good post. Keep’m coming.

Mark Bradley

February 25th, 2010
10:19 am

The Round 2 pick belongs to KC, SOUTH GA. It was part of the Tony Gonzalez deal.

Oh, and thanks, Bill.

Kurisu

February 25th, 2010
10:19 am

We gave our 2nd to Kansas City

Sonny Clusters

February 25th, 2010
10:20 am

Mark, are you going to spring training and will you be able to ask some questions like Jeff is doing? If so, we was going to work on some questions for you.

Mark Bradley

February 25th, 2010
10:24 am

I am not going to spring training.

Birdman

February 25th, 2010
10:25 am

The “process” everyone refers too does not mean you never take a chance on a player if you feel it puts your team over the top, even if you have to pony up the cash. For a simple reference please Google “Patriots + Randy Moss”. If Dunta Robinson shores up the secondary for the next 3 years, which I believe is this Falcons teams window to be great with current core (except Ryan who has a longer window). You get this close to being a SB contender and you make the moves to capitalize now. Not every player on the team can come through the draft, as the draft is a crapshoot with about a 30% hit rate. Who knows whats beyond next year anyway, Tony G retired, Turner done, Roddy slowing down maybe. This team is on the cusp, take a few chances to augment your process. Dunta would be an immediate impact player on this roster.

JaxFalcon

February 25th, 2010
10:26 am

Diva Robinson is not worth the time, money, or headaches

Any word on how William Moore is progressing? When he was healthy at Miz he was an excellent player. I like the idea of taking a pass rusher to get to the QB faster relieving pressure on the munchkins in the secondary.

Mark Bradley

February 25th, 2010
10:27 am

I’ve heard nothing to indicate the Falcons aren’t encouraged by William Moore’s prognosis, JaxFalcon.

Dave

February 25th, 2010
10:27 am

Bring back DeAngelo Hall. He’s grown up now, more mature. Plus he knows he’s not going to get the really big payday again so he’d settle for just a few million (for gas money for his car collection).

Poor McKay

February 25th, 2010
10:28 am

Does anyone remember Chris Houston? I haven’t heard his name since the season ended… is it assumed that he will not be in a Falcons uniform next season?

Davey

February 25th, 2010
10:29 am

Great point Dave!!!

WE WANT HALL!! WE WANT HALL!!
WE WANT HALL!! WE WANT HALL!!

NoName

February 25th, 2010
10:31 am

What do you think the chances of trading a 4th and 7th compensary pick to get back into second round? If that happens, who do you think they’d get?

Falcon4Life

February 25th, 2010
10:39 am

I sure hope that you guys are kidding with the Deangelo Hall stuff…ugh! As far as Chris Houston is concerned…I’d trade him for a pack of peanuts. I have never yelled so much at my TV as I did when watching CH play. He can cover, but ZERO ball skills. I like Grimes and Owens…just not sure I want them starting. Why not Bodden?

SOUTH GA DAWG FAN

February 25th, 2010
10:40 am

what kind of impact will the new coach have on the secondary? any ideas ? i have been lax and not researched him I hope it doesn’t cause my pay to be docked.