- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Staff Writer
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Well, the paperwork has been finalized. The Falcons traded a pick in this year’s draft (reportedly, a sixth-round choice) to Philadelphia for Samuel, who has signed a three-year contract with Atlanta.
So let’s hear what the Falcons have to say about the fourt-time Pro Bowl cornerback.
“We are pleased to be able to add a player of Asante’s caliber to our roster,” Atlanta general manager Thomas Dimitroff said. “Asante has established himself as a very productive player during his career. He is a proven player in this league and we feel that this move upgrades the talent of our roster and improves our football team.”
“We just improved our team today,” coach Mike Smith said. “Asante Samuel is a good football player and you can never have enough good players on your team. Our game has become more of a passing game, and you have to have the players who can neutralize how offenses are trying to attack you.”
Smith’s right. The Falcons are a better team now than they were a day ago. As I mentioned earlier, the Falcons now have three starting-caliber cornerbacks (Dunta Robinson and Brent Grimes already were on the roster). That’s great news for the defensive backfield.
But there’s another positive aspect to this move. I know a lot of Atlanta fans wanted the Falcons to go after free-agent defensive end Mario Williams. They didn’t. But Samuel’s arrival suddenly makes Atlanta’s pass rush better.
Yeah, it’s true the Falcons haven’t added any pass rushers this offseason. But having Samuel in the secondary should help guys like John Abraham and Ray Edwards produce more coverage sacks because quarterbacks aren’t going to find as many open receivers.