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Big decisions the Falcons still have to make: Desmond Trufant’s deal

Fact: Desmond Trufant has a pet iguana named “Mouse”

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Houston Texans Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Falcons cornerback Desmond Trufant is a controversial figure. If he were the CB2 making significantly less money, he’d be a fan favorite. Because he’s the CB1 and gets paid like a top ten cornerback, the situation is different. It is what it is.

There’s a healthy contingent within the Falcons fan base that wants Trufant gone. But does that make sense? Is cutting him in the coming days something the Falcons are actually considering? Short answer: No. Absolutely not.

Trufant signed a 5 year, $69 million extension before the 2017 season. He’s under contract for 3 more seasons, and assuming he plays out his current deal, he’ll be a 32 year old unrestricted free agent in 2023. His base salaries over the next 3 seasons average just north of $15 million, which probably exceeds market value for a good but not exactly elite cornerback. It’s also worth noting that $42 million of that $69 million extension is guaranteed. (Although most of that guaranteed money has already been paid out.)

If the Falcons cut Trufant, any deferred money becomes due and owing immediately. In Trufant’s case, that’d be $10.2 million with a 2020 cap savings of only $4.95 million. In other words, it’s just not worth it. Given the financial inflexibility the front office is trying to navigate, going that route is simply cost prohibitive. The numbers don’t add up.

If the Falcons keep Trufant around for another year, they can cut or trade him and only be on the hook for $5.8 million in dead money with a projected cap savings of $10.35 million in 2021 and $12.75 million in 2022. I suck at math but that option looks far more palatable on its face.

As investments go, Trufant’s return has been less than ideal. And at present, his contract represents a whopping 7.41 percent of the 2020 team cap. If that seems like a lot, it’s because it is. But in his defense, Trufant is a still a talented defensive back. While he only played 50 percent of the team’s defensive snaps last season (50.7 percent to be exact), Trufant made good use of the time he did spend on the field, intercepting 4 passes on his way to Pro Football Focus’ 40th best coverage grade. Is he elite? No. Is he good? Yes. Absolutely.

Look, it’s unlikely Trufant is given the opportunity to play out his current deal and there’s a real possibility the Falcons move on from him as soon as 2021. But whether you like it or not, cutting Trufant makes little financial sense in 2020. Given that, it should come as no surprise that the Falcons are now publicly including Trufant in their 2020 plans.

If the Falcons want to move on Trufant, they’ll have to do it soon. But they likely won’t, because the numbers don’t add up and the defensive coordinator is publicly discussing how he fits into the team’s plans next season.

Your thoughts, Falcoholics?