ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Falcons gave up only a seventh-round draft pick on Wednesday when they acquired four-time Pro Bowl cornerback Asante Samuel from the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Falcons announced the trade after Samuel agreed to restructure his contract to a three-year, $18.5 million deal. His contract with Philadelphia called for him to earn $9.9 million in 2012 and $11.4 million in 2013.
Samuel, 31, gives Atlanta a strong but high-priced trio at cornerback with Dunta Robinson and Brent Grimes under new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan.
Grimes, who signed his franchise tag tender Tuesday, will make $10.262 million this season. Robinson will earn $6 million.
"Asante has established himself as a very productive player during his career," Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said. "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."
The Falcons are left with five picks but no first-round selection in the NFL draft.
Samuel became expendable when the Eagles signed Nnamdi Asomugha and acquired Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie last July, giving them three Pro Bowl cornerbacks. But the team couldn't find a suitable deal for Samuel, so they kept him and used Rodgers-Cromartie in the nickel spot.
While Asomugha and Rodgers-Cromartie struggled in a new defense and new roles, Samuel was the most consistent of the trio. The outspoken Samuel probably sealed his fate in Philadelphia when he criticized the front office at the trade deadline, saying management was "playing fantasy football with the owner's money."
The Eagles, who were looking to clear payroll, now have 10 picks in the draft, including three of the top 51.
Samuel has 45 career interceptions in nine seasons, fourth among active players. He had only three interceptions in 14 games last season, but his 38 interceptions since 2006 lead the NFL.
"We just improved our team today," Falcons coach Mike Smith said. "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 to attack you."
Dimitroff was New England's director of scouting when the Patriots selected Samuel in the fourth round in 2003.
Samuel's agent, Alonzo Shavers, said the cornerback's history with Dimitroff was important.
"Here's what I will tell you," Shavers said. "Atlanta is run by someone who brought him into the league, so you can take it from there."
Samuel set a career high with 10 interceptions for the Patriots in 2006.
sounds like a steal to me even if he's a boom or bust corner.