The Atlanta Falcons, who have been so quiet throughout free agency and don’t figure to make a splash in the draft without a first-round pick, finally could be making some noise.
Several other teams reportedly also are involved. But keep one thing in mind -- if the Falcons really want a player, they usually get him. The actual cost of getting Samuel wouldn’t be that much. It’s been reported the Eagles would take a late-round draft pick as compensation.
At 31, Samuel might not be the same player he was a few years ago, when he was considered one of the league’s elite cornerbacks. But he still potentially could give the Falcons a strong trio at cornerback. With new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan taking over and the league passing more than ever, the Falcons have said publicly they believe they need to have three starting-caliber cornerbacks.
They already have Dunta Robinson and Brent Grimes. There is hope that a long-term deal can be worked out with Grimes, who is carrying the franchise tag but has not signed his tender. Either way, Grimes will cost the Falcons a lot this season, and even though Robinson already has restructured his contract, they have a lot of money tied up in their current starting cornerbacks.
Can the Falcons afford Samuel? Well, not under the terms of his current contract. Samuel is set to make $9.9 million in base salary this year, and he has a $100,000 workout bonus. His base salary in 2013 is $11.4 million, with a $100,000 workout bonus and escalators that could add as much as $2.5 million to the total value.
It’s been reported that Samuel will have to restructure his contract, no matter which team acquires him. But the Falcons would have to get creative if they really want Samuel. They currently have just $1.7 million in available cap space. But they easily could free up some cap room by restructuring several contracts.
It's been widely reported the Eagles would like to trade Samuel before the draft, so stay tuned on this one.