While all of the money being thrown around this time of year to free agents creates most of the headlines in the NFL, there's a cold reality that many players also lose their jobs this time of year.
Dealing with the unfortunate truth about how business works in the league, the Falcons are set to cut former Pro Bowl cornerback Desmond Trufant, ending his seven-year run with the only organization he's ever known.
But when one door closes, another opens. Hitting the free agent market for the first time, this may create an opportunity for the 29-year old Trufant to return to the Pacific Northwest and help solidify the Seahawks secondary.
A native of Tacoma, Washington, Trufant starred at the University of Washington, earning First-Team All-Pac 12 recognition as a senior. He finished his career with the Huskies producing 195 combined tackles and six interceptions, eventually being selected by the Falcons with the No. 22 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.
After being jettisoned by Atlanta to create cap relief, Seattle could make a lot of sense as a potential landing spot for Trufant, whose older brother Marcus starred for the team from 2003 to 2012.
Despite suffering a broken forearm in Week 14, Trufant finished with 18 tackles and a career-high four interceptions last season in just nine games before landing on injured reserve. For his career, he's registered 329 tackles, 13 interceptions, and 79 passes defensed.
The Falcons paid Trufant $9.5 million last season, but coming off of his latest injury, he could be looking for a short-term deal to re-prove himself and possibly boost his stock for another run at free agency next spring.
The Seahawks have been encouraged by the progression of third-year cornerback Tre Flowers, who intercepted three passes in 15 starts last season. But he struggled mightily during the playoffs opposite of Pro Bowl starter Shaquill Griffin, creating questions about his long-term viability as a starter.
Last month, general manager John Schneider admitted he wasn't pleased with the performance of Seattle's secondary as a whole last season.
“I think just like every position; you’re constantly looking to tweak it and figure out how to get better, whether it’s at strong safety, free safety, you know? Obviously, we want to get better. If I told you that we were satisfied with the performance, I’d be lying. We all need to get better.”
That’s where Trufant figures into play here. Though he last made the Pro Bowl in a breakout 2015, his performance hasn't necessarily waned. Even as the Falcons have struggled to subpar records in recent seasons, he earned a stellar 78.5 grade from Pro Football Focus in 2017 and performed at an elite level last season before succumbing to injury.
If Trufant commands more than $8 or $9 million per year, Seattle will likely be priced out due to other roster needs. He doesn't necessarily fit the profile of an outside corner in Pete Carroll's defense either, as his 31 1/4-inch arms fall below the threshold the Seahawks normally look for.
But with the Cardinals adding DeAndre Hopkins, shoring up the secondary suddenly has become a more prominent need for the Seahawks to compete in the increasingly tough NFC West. Sign Trufant on a cost-efficient, incentive-laden deal would turn the unit from a liability into a strength and could also help Seattle's pass rush be more effective as a result next season.