CNNSI Reports – Falcons want Asante

Posted: April 24, 2012 in NFL
Posted: Tuesday April 24, 2012 2:47PM ;  Updated: Tuesday April 24, 2012  2:50PM

Asante Samuel
Asante Samuel has 45 career interceptions,  including three last season.
Tom DiPace

NFL Team Page

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — The Atlanta  Falcons were in negotiations on Tuesday to acquire cornerback Asante  Samuel from the Philadelphia  Eagles.

A trade for Samuel would provide a highlight to what has been a relatively  quiet offseason for the Falcons, who have worked to retain their free agents  instead of making a splash through trades or free agency.

The Falcons have six picks but no first-round selection in the NFL draft.  They hope to acquire Samuel before the draft, according to a person familiar  with the talks.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity on Tuesday  because the deal, which may include a draft pick, is not complete.

Samuel, 31, is a four-time Pro Bowl pick. He would give the Falcons’ new  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.

Grimes’ agent, Ben Dogra, said the cornerback would like a deal that lasts  beyond the 2012 season.

“We will continue to talk and the goal is to hopefully reach a long-term deal  at some point,” Dogra told The Associated Press.

Samuel’s contract calls for him to earn $9.9 million in 2012 and $11.4  million in 2013. He might rework the deal to help the trade fit the Falcons’  salary cap.

The Falcons began their offseason program on Monday.

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 signed a six-year deal with the Eagles in 2008. The Eagles acquired  cornerbacks Nnamdi  Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie before the 2011 season, creating a  trio that didn’t mesh.

An Atlanta trade of one or more draft picks for an established veteran such  as Samuel would be another sign Dimitroff’s focus is on 2012 instead of the  future.

That’s fine with quarterback Matt  Ryan.

“I’m certainly in a win-now mode,” Ryan said Tuesday. “I think that’s the  only way you can approach the NFL. Every time you suit up and every time you  play, it’s for one reason and that reason is to win.”

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 low total since 2005.

Dimitroff was preparing for the draft and was not available for comment on  Tuesday.

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