After three consecutive one-and-done playoff appearances in which their defense was outclassed, the Atlanta Falcons took a major step in reversing that trend by acquiring 4-time Pro Bowl cornerback Asante Samuels from the Philadelphia Eagles.
The move came just a year after the Eagles acquisitions of fellow Pro Bowl cornerbacks Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. The new duo played well together toward the end of the 2011 season, which left Samuels as the odd man out.
Samuels holds no ill-will towards the Eagles, telling Yahoo, “I wish Philly nothing but the best. I love the organization and Eagles Nation. I know it was sad to see me go. I know everybody can’t figure out why this is happening and why it’s going this way, but this is business.”
The Eagles were looking to cut payroll, and the addition of Atlanta’s 7th round pick gives them 10 in this year’s draft.
Falcons head coach Mike Smith jumped at the opportunity to add Samuels. Smith commented to Yahoo about the addition of Samuels to the defense.
“We just improved our team today, 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 attack you.”
The addition of Samuels bolsters a Falcons secondary that will be critical if they want to de-throne Drew Brees and the pass happy New Orleands Saints.
Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff echoed coach Smith’s comments, saying, “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.”
Samuels leads all defensive backs in interceptions since 2006 with 28, and has 45 total in his career.