The Atlanta Falcons exercised the fifth-year option built into the contract of cornerback Desmond Trufant, keeping him under contract through the 2017 season. As the team’s first-round pick in 2013, the Falcons had until May 2 to decide whether to pick up the option that would extend Trufant’s initial four-year deal into a five-year pact. Due to the option, the Falcons will have are set to pay Trufant a salary of $8.026 million, which is currently guaranteed for injury.
That salary is based on the average of the third through 25th highest-paid cornerbacks in the league due to the rules for fifth-year options of players selected outside the top 10 in their draft class. Trufant was selected 22nd overall by the Falcons in 2013, after the team traded up from the 30th overall pick with the St. Louis (now Los Angeles) Rams.
Trufant’s $8 million base salary in 2017 is guaranteed for injury as of now, but can become fully guaranteed on the first day of the 2017 league year next March.
The fifth-year option was a stipulation added to the contracts of first-round picks after the new Collective Bargaining Agreement was put in place back in 2011. The Falcons exercised a fifth-year option on 2011 first-round pick in wide receiver Julio Jones two years ago. However Jones received a big contract extension before he even reached his fifth year in 2015 so there is now a precedent that the Falcons could seek to extend Trufant’s deal before the start of the 2017 season.
Since joining the Falcons, Trufant has started all 48 games over the past three seasons. In that span, he has collected 173 tackles, one sack, six interceptions and three fumble recoveries, including one returned for a touchdown this past season against the Houston Texans. Trufant has also recorded 44 passes defended over the past three years, which is tied for the fifth most among defensive backs in that span.
He earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl last season as an alternate.