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Sources: Asante Samuel to Falcons
Wednesday, 25 April 2012

ESPN.com news services

The Atlanta Falcons acquired Philadelphia Eagles Pro-Bowl cornerback Asante Samuel for a late-round pick, league sources told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter on Wednesday.

As part of the deal, Samuel restructured his contract, agreeing to a three-year, $18.5 million contract with the Falcons. Samuels' contract with the Eagles had called for him to earn $9.9 million in 2012 and $11.4 million in 2013.

If Asante Samuel is traded to the Falcons, his arrival could give Atlanta a strong trio at cornerback, writes ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas. Blog

Samuel, 31, is a four-time Pro Bowl pick. He gives new Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan a strong trio at cornerback with Dunta Robinson and Brent Grimes, who Tuesday signed his franchise tag tender. Grimes will make $10.262 million this season.

Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff was New England's director of scouting when the Patriots selected Samuel in the fourth round in 2003. Samuel set a career high with 10 interceptions for the Patriots in 2006.

Samuel became expendable when the Eagles signed Nnamdi Asomugha and acquired Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie last July, giving them three Pro Bowl cornerbacks. But the team couldn't find a suitable deal for Samuel, so they kept him and used Rodgers-Cromartie in the nickel spot.

While Asomugha and Rodgers-Cromartie struggled in a new defense and new roles, Samuel was the most consistent of the trio. The outspoken Samuel probably sealed his fate in Philadelphia when he criticized the front office at the trade deadline, saying management was "playing fantasy football with the owner's money."

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan said Samuel, who had 30 tackles and three interceptions in 2011, has been a difficult 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.

The Falcons were 10-6 last season and 13-3 in 2010 but lost their first playoff game each season. An improved secondary would boost the team's hopes for 2012.

Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon called Samuel "a player who would improve anyone's defense."

Samuel has 45 career interceptions in nine seasons. His three interceptions in 14 games last season was his lowest total since 2005.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

 
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