Dunta Robinson and 4 Falcons Fighting for NFL Jobs in 2012
Dunta Robinson headlines the list of Falcons needing a strong performance in the 2012 season to keep his job. Even though Robinson still has three years left on his contract after 2012, he becomes increasingly expensive to keep.
Find out which players' days in a Falcons uniform could be numbered in the following slideshow.
CB Dunta Robinson
Dunta Robinson is only in year three of a massive six-year, $57 million deal, but his days as a Falcon are limited.
Robinson is more known for his illegal hit on Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson than a game-saving tackle or a heroic interception.
Robinson makes only $5 million this year, but in 2013 his salary rises to $8 million, in 2014 it rises to $10 million and in 2015 he is scheduled to make $11.5 million.
At that price, Robinson becomes too expensive for the Falcons to afford, especially when he isn't producing on the field.
The Falcons acquisition of Asante Samuel in the offseason spelled the beginning of the end for Robinson.
By cutting Robinson after the 2012 season, the Falcons could use that money to re-sign fellow corner Brent Grimes.
Robinson hasn't lived up to his contract, and in the NFL, little is guaranteed. Robinson needs a big year in 2012 or he could find himself cut.
DT Peria Jerry
Defensive tackle Peria Jerry, a former first-round draft pick, isn't the player the Falcons thought they drafted.
Jerry hurt his knee in the 2009 season, and after returning these past two years, it's evident Jerry doesn't have the same motor and explosiveness as he did in his collegiate days.
With 20 career tackles in three NFL seasons, Jerry is on the hot seat entering the 2012 season. Jerry is in the fourth year of his five-year rookie deal.
Jerry will be 28 years old by the start of the season. He is in jeopardy of extinction from the NFL unless he can produce in the 2012 season.
DE Lawrence Sidbury
Recently, the Falcons made commitments to three defensive ends, signaling it could be the end for defensive end Lawrence Sidbury.
The Falcons extended John Abraham through the 2014 season. Ray Edwards has four more years left on his contract. In addition, the Falcons re-signed defensive end Kroy Biermann for a three-year deal this spring.
Sidbury is a free agent following the 2012 season, and the Falcons may not want to re-sign the young lineman.
Sidbury has just 16 tackles in three NFL seasons and missed the entire 2010 season with an injury. Sidury did have four sacks last season, which was more than Biermann and Edwards.
At 26 years old, still has room for growth. It's up to Sidbury to show the Falcons he is worth a roster spot in 2012.
OT Sam Baker
The Falcons surprised many when they decided not to cut offensive tackle Sam Baker prior to the 2012 season. Baker, another first-round pick, has not lived up to that high draft pick and was eventually benched in favor of tackle Will Svitek.
Baker has suffered through his fair share of injuries and played hurt during last season according to head coach Mike Smith.
“I think that Sam has shown a lot of resiliency,’’ Smith told ESPN.com. “Sam really has worked through a lot of injuries throughout his career. He’s played through a lot of things. Sam, in my mind, was playing very well through the first five or six games last season until he was injured and had to have the procedure done on his back, which put him out for a very significant amount of time.’’
Baker is a free agent following the 2012 season, and despite the comments from Smith, Baker's future is very much in doubt.
The Falcons built depth on the offensive line in this past draft, meaning Baker is going to have to step his game up if he wants to remain on the team in 2013.
CB Chris Owens
With corners such as Dunta Robinson, Brent Grimes and now Asante Samuel on the team, cornerback Chris Owens might have a hard time seeing the field in the 2012 season.
How convenient? Owens becomes a free agent following this season. With the talent the Falcons have in their defensive backfield, Owens may have a hard time convincing ownership to keep him on the team in the future.
Owens had 35 tackles in the regular season, but only defended three passes and intercepted zero passes.