Falcons fans can rest assured heading in to training camp as the organization has finally come to terms with its last draft pick yet to be signed: cornerback Desmond Trufant. After a summer filled with negotiations, the Atlanta Falcons have finally agreed to a four-year deal worth $8.16 million ($4.3 million guaranteed) with the twenty-second pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.
Trufant is the favorite to start come September 8th against the Saints alongside pro-bowler Asante Samuel; however, he will have some competition from other rookie Robert Alford out of Southeastern Louisiana. Falcons are relying on these rookies to make an impact right out of the gate due to the loss of Dunta Robinson and Brett Grimes in the offseason.
There was some concern heading into training camp that this contract would not reach a conclusion before players were to report, resulting in only the third contract dispute for the Falcons’ organization. The previous disputes were Sam Baker in 2008 when he missed the first day of practice due to contract negotiations and then more importantly, Roddy White’s negotiation in 2011 in which he missed eight days of camp before signing a contract that made him the highest-paid wide receiver in the NFL.
Why was Desmond Trufant the last rookie to sign with the Atlanta Falcons this season you may ask? Well, when the Falcons traded up to receive the twenty-second pick in the draft, they traded up to where QB Brandon Weeden was picked in the 2012 NFL Draft. Because Weeden negotiated a contract that granted him three full years of guaranteed money as well as $920,000 guaranteed in his fourth year, which is $170,000 more than the player picked ahead of Weeden, Desmond Trufant expected to be guaranteed more money than the player picked before him, Bengals TE Tyler Eifert.
The Falcons could easily argue that Weeden earned this extra guaranteed money because of the fact that he was a first round quarterback since these quarterbacks still receive extra consideration in their rookie contracts; however, both sides recognized the importance of Trufant’s attendance at training camp and reached a deal on Wednesday causing the Falcons to fork over more money than initially anticipated.
Training camp starts today and all eyes will be on Trufant to see him battle other rookie Robert Alford for the vacant starting corner spot. The Atlanta Falcons’ defense needs all the help it can get if it wants a Super Bowl championship at the end of the 2013 season after it gave up a 20-point lead and 17-point lead in the 2012 playoffs.
Will this lucrative contract come back to haunt the Falcons or will Desmont Trufant live up to the hype? Will Trufant’s higher wages impact the outcome of Matt Ryan’s looming contract extension? As always, voice your opinions in the comment section below and check back later for a recap of Atlanta Falcons Training Camp Day One. RISE UP!