The Falcons are giving cornerback Desmond Trufant a five-year extension, the team announced Saturday morning. According to the Huffington Post’s Jordan Schultz, it’s worth nearly $69 million, including $42 million in guarantees. Originally Atlanta’s 2013 first-round pick, Trufant played in just nine games before a shoulder injury officially ended his 2016 season.
The former University of Washington standout was an integral part of a secondary that finished 19th in pass defense, according to Football Outsiders’ metrics. How integral? In his first three seasons, where he started 48 consecutive games, Trufant was a top-5 cornerback as a rookie in 2013, No. 6 in 2014 and No. 8 in 2015, according to Pro Football Focus, before the shoulder injury slowed him in 2016 (and he still finished as the 22nd-ranked cornerback).
Trufant underwent shoulder surgery in late November and the recovery time is usually 3-4 months. Still, Falcons coach Dan Quinn doesn’t expect to have his lockdown cornerback for organized team activities, which begin on April 17.
“Trufant is coming along great,’’ Quinn said last month, via ESPN.com’s Vaughn McClure. “We won’t have him practice during [OTAs], but by the time we get to training camp, he’ll be ready to go and battle.’’
Second-year cornerback Jalen Collins played well in Trufant’s absence (he finished the season with a positive grade, according to PFF), and the secondary, which also includes Keanu Neal, Ricardo Allen and Robert Alford, has a chance to be very good.
Trufant was under contract for $8.03 million next season before his extension, which now makes him one of the league’s highest paid cornerbacks.