Devonta Freeman’s rumored potential exit shows just how desperate the Falcons cap situation is this offseason. If they are willing to eat $6 million in dead cap just to save a few million, you know they are going to be looking to shed salary anywhere possible, and Desmond Trufant is a candidate people love to talk about releasing.
This is a conversation that has happened over the last couple of offseasons. For some reason, fans love to hate on Trufant, even though he’s the only thing near a number one corner the Falcons have had over the last decade and has been remarkably consistent since he was drafted back in 2013. In his entire career, he’s never had a season where he received a grade below 69.5, according to Pro Football Focus, which is pretty rare, especially for cornerbacks.
At least this year, it makes a little bit of financial logic — emphasis on little. Last year, fans were clamoring for Trufant’s release despite the fact that they owed him $13.9 million and would have been on the hook for $24.1 million in dead cap had they let him go. This season, they’d be responsible for around $10 million of his $15 million cap hit, which still isn’t enough to cut him, considering it would be incredibly challenging to find a corner on the free-agent market that would be able to produce like Trufant for $5 million or less. If the Falcons decided to move on, they’d have to find a willing trade partner with cap space. Philadelphia, Indianapolis, Buffalo, and Las Vegas make a lot of sense, but lost in all this talk, is if the Falcons should even be thinking about moving on from Trufant.
In a word: No. Cornerbacks are a hot commodity in today’s pass-happy NFL, and you can never have enough. Trufant finished 2019 with 4 INTs (tied for 11th in the NFL), and 7 passes defended along with a grade of 70.3 PFF. As much as he’s paid, he’s making an impact on the field, even if he’s lost a tiny step over the years. It’s also worth mentioning the Falcons don’t have a reliable option on the roster outside of him. Isaiah Oliver and Kendall Sheffield both had their flashes but are still unproven on an already weak defense. I don’t think addition by subtraction is a good idea in this case. Trufant isn’t going to fetch very good compensation on the trade market, and with there being other areas where money can be saved, keeping him is a no-brainer.