Desmond Trufant will compete for a starting spot in the secondary in his first year with the Falcons.
FLOWERY BRANCH — Cornerback Desmond Trufant, the 22nd player taken in the 2013 NFL draft, agreed to terms with the Atlanta Falcons on Wednesday.
The terms are for a four-year deal worth $8.16 million. Trufant received a signing bonus of $4.31 million.
Under general manager Thomas Dimitroff, the Falcons haven’t had a rookie holdout since 2008 when left tackle Sam Baker missed part of the team’s first practice while his deal was being finalized and faxed to the league office.
Doug Hendrickson, the senior client director for Octagon football, represented Trufant. He also represents four other Falcons and has a good working relationship with the franchise.
Under the new collective bargaining agreement, rookie contracts are normally slotted into position based on what was paid out in previous years. However, Trufant was selected at a difficult spot.
What was problematic for both sides is how to handle the guaranteed money based on the deal that Brandon Weeden received from the Cleveland Browns last year at the 22nd spot.All but about $572,308 of Weeden’s $8.083 million four-year deal was guaranteed.
Weeden likely received a “premium” deal because he was a quarterback.
The negotiating parties had to reach a common ground on Trufant’s fourth year money and guarantees.
The Falcons made a major draft-day trade with the St. Louis Rams to move up seven spots in the first round to select Trufant with the 22nd overall pick. The Falcons switched positions in the first round and gave up a third and sixth round pick to the Rams.
Trufant, 22, participated in the team’s rookie camp in May and part of the OTAs in June. Because of the league rules, he could not participate in the OTAs because he had work to complete toward his degree at Washington.
In order to help him get ready, the team sent materials and used the video conferencing site, skype.com, to communicate with Trufant while he was preparing for his final exams.
After letting three of their top five cornerbacks leave after last season, the Falcons needed to re-stock the position. They were high on Trufant, who starred at the University of Washington and comes from a NFL football playing family.
Two of Trufant brothers, Marcus and Isaiah, play in the NFL. Marcus, an 11-year veteran, is with Jacksonville and Isaiah, a three-year veteran, is with the New York Jets.
The Falcons also selected cornerback Robert Alford in the second around.
Trufant, who’s 6-foot, 190 pounds, ran the 40-yard dash in 4.38 seconds at the NFL scouting combine.
In addition to Trufant, Octagon represents safety Thomas DeCoud, linebacker Stephen Nicholas, cornerbacks Dominique Franks and Peyton Thompson.
Trufant is expected to compete for the starting right cornerback position.Over the offseason, the Falcons let three of their top five cornerbacks leave in Brent Grimes (Miami), Dunta Robinson (Kansas City) and Christopher Owens (Cleveland).
Now, all of the Falcons eight draft picks are signed and the team can turn its focus to working out a contract extension for quarterback Matt Ryan.