Desmond Trufant, Falcons Agree to 5-Year Contract Extension

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 27:  Desmond Trufant #21 of the Atlanta Falcons celebrates during the second half against the Carolina Panthers at the Georgia Dome on December 27, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

With Desmond Trufant set to become a free agent in 2018, the Atlanta Falcons agreed to a five-year, $69 million extension with the cornerback, the Falcons announced on Saturday. 

Jordan Schultz of the Huffington Post first reported the news and noted the deal included almost $42 million in guaranteed money. ESPN's Adam Schefter confirmed the report.

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

In #Falcons CB Desmond Trufant's 5-yr, $68.75M extension, he gets $14.75M avg over 3 yrs. Earns $33M by Mar '18. $42M in g'tees. Top 4 paid

Trufant missed Atlanta's final seven games in 2016 after he tore his pectoral in the Falcons' Week 9 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He finished with 30 tackles and an interception.

Pro Football Focus gave Trufant a 78.9 grade last season, which tied for 30th among qualified cornerbacks and was six spots behind Jalen Collins (81.6), Atlanta's highest-graded corner.

On Feb. 7, Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said the team was looking to tie up Trufant with an extension in short order. In December, head coach Dan Quinn was optimistic Trufant would put pen to paper on a new deal.

The MMQB's Peter King speculated in January the Falcons would make re-signing the 26-year-old a priority:

Peter King @SI_PeterKing

They love Trufant. They’ll try. Cover corners are crucial to Quinn’s defense. https://t.co/jh5SzFBcnG

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On Feb. 7, Trufant told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Michael Cunningham that he envisions returning to the field in May for the Falcons' offseason practices.

"We will see how it goes," Trufant said. "The training staff, they've got a plan for me. I'm just following that. I know that when it's time for that first game, I'm going to be better."

Atlanta surely hopes a healthy Trufant will help a secondary that ranked 28th in passing defense (266.7 yards per game) and 19th in pass defense defense-adjusted value over average in 2016, per Football Outsiders.

While Atlanta still had plenty of time before Trufant hit free agency, this offseason was a good time to take care of his contract situation. The cost of retaining him on the open market in 2018 almost certainly would've been higher than it is now.

With Trufant's extension out of the way, Dimitroff can shift his focus toward other Falcons players with little time remaining on their deals.

Devonta Freeman, Adrian Clayborn and Ra'Shede Hageman will be free agents in 2018, while Andy Levitre, Matt Ryan, Grady Jarrett, Tevin Coleman and Jake Matthews headline the team's 2019 free-agent class.

Atlanta is all but guaranteed to keep Ryan, the 2016 NFL MVP, though his extension will limit Dimitroff's financial flexibility and force him to part ways with at least one or two key contributors from the team's NFC title-winning squad in 2016.

Re-signing Trufant removed at least one headache for Dimitroff.

For more news, rumors and related stories about Desmond Trufant, the Atlanta Falcons and the NFL, check out the NFL and Falcons streams on Bleacher Report's app.

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