Asante Samuel to Falcons: Atlanta Close to Acquiring CB from Eagles

Field Yates@FieldYatesCorrespondent IIIApril 25, 2012

ATLANTA - SEPTEMBER 18: Asante Samuel #22 of the Philadelphia Eagles defends a pass against Julio Jones #11 of the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome on September 18, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

The Atlanta Falcons are close to acquiring veteran cornerback Asante Samuel from the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for a late-round draft pick, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

The trade was speculated about on Tuesday, and it appears that it will be completed before the start on the NFL draft, which begins Thursday night.

Samuel, 31, has two years remaining on a six-year contract that he signed during the 2008 offseason. He is scheduled to make roughly $21.5 million over the next two seasons, although it has been suggested that he would need to restructure his contract in order to facilitate a deal. It is not currently known if he has agreed to taking a pay cut.

Originally a 2004 fourth-round pick of the New England Patriots out of Central Florida, Samuel was rewarded with Pro Bowl honors in each of his first three seasons with the Eagles, and has been named an All-Pro on three occasions as well.

In 2011, Samuel recorded 34 tackles and three interceptions in 14 games as a part of the talented trio of cornerbacks in Philadelphia that also included Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

Given the amount of money Philadelphia has already committed to Asomugha and the fact that Rodgers-Cromartie will be a free agent after this season and in need of a new deal, it appeared the team was looking to unload Samuel in an effort to reduce the amount of money invested at one position.

Samuel is widely regarded as one of the most calculated gamblers in football, known for his ability to anticipate offensive routes and force turnovers. He is a poor tackler, but he has averaged five interceptions over his nine-year career.

The Falcons ranked 20th in pass defense in 2011, and franchised 28-year-old cornerback Brent Grimes this offseason (he recently signed his tender, which will pay him $10.262 million in 2012).

The team made an aggressive push during the 2010 offseason to sign free-agent cornerback Dunta Robinson, but he has been a disappointment in two seasons and restructured his contract in March of this year.

Should the trade for Samuel officially come to fruition, expect he and Grimes to start for Atlanta in 2012.