The Atlanta Falcons released cornerback Asante Samuel and linebacker Stephen Nicholas on Wednesday, clearing nearly $7 million from its cap space for next season, according to Jay Adams of AtlantaFalcons.com.
The departure of the 33-year-old Samuel, a four-time Pro Bowler, marks the third top cornerback to be depart from the Falcons in the past year (Dunta Robinson was released and Brent Grimes signed with the Dolphins in free agency). Acquired via a trade from the Philadelphia Eagles in 2012, he had six interceptions and 21 passes defensed during his stint with the Falcons. Samuel was set to make a base salary of $3.5 million next season, the final year of his contract.
Nicholas has spent his entire career with Atlanta after being selected in the fourth round by the Falcons in the 2007 draft. He finishes his tenure with Atlanta with 254 solo tackles, eight sacks, two interceptions, five forced fumbles, and 13 passes defended in 101 games.
Atlanta finished this past season with a 4-12 record, tied with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the worst record in the NFC South. EAGLE: Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks appear on cover of Sports Illustrated