The 2012 draft may have just become a little simpler for the Atlanta Falcons, as the much anticipated trade for Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Asante Samuel is expected to be finalized today. Atlanta is reportedly only giving a late round draft pick to the Eagles for the nine-year veteran, and the move gives a big lift to a secondary that had been under heavy criticism the past four seasons under head coach Mike Smith.
Reportedly the deal will not add any additional years to Samuel’s contract, but will require some restructuring of the money he is due over the next two seasons.
Samuel is a four-time Pro Bowl pick, and has 45 career interceptions in nine seasons with the Patriots and the Eagles. Last season, his three interceptions in 14 games was his lowest since 2005, however he is still considered one of the top corners in the league. The addition of Samuel will give Falcons first-year defensive coordinator Mike Nolan three strong options at cornerback with Dunta Robinson and Brent Grimes.
When asked about Samuel, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan said he has been a tough defensive opponent.
“As far as Asante Samuel, I can only speak for having played against him a number of times and I know that’s he’s been extremely difficult to play against and has done a great job against us when we’ve played him in the past,” Ryan said.
Improving Atlanta’s secondary was thought to be one of the top priorities in this years draft. The addition of Samuel will allow the Falcons to focus on other needs such as offensive and defensive line. Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon said that Samuel is “a player who would improve anyone’s defense.”