The Atlanta Falcons and free-agent safety James Sanders agreed to a one-year contract on Tuesday, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported, citing the player's agent.
Sanders worked out for the Falcons on Tuesday after being released by the New England Patriots on Monday. Sanders was drafted by the Patriots in 2005, when Atlanta general manager Thomas Dimitroff was New England's director of college scouting.
"Tough release there with James Sanders," New England coach Bill Belichick told the Boston Globe on Monday. "James has been a good guy to have on this team. A hard-working kid. He really has developed from the time he came to us as a draft choice from Fresno [State] and heâs been a really solid team player for us but we just, part of the move, needed to release people. But he was a tough one."
Sanders was slated to make $2.8 million with New England. He was a full-time starter for the Patriots in 2007 and 2008, and started nine games for them last season, recording 42 tackles and three interceptions.
The Falcons were looking to add experience and depth behind starting safeties William Moore and Thomas DeCoud. The Falcons have a competition at nickel back between Christopher Owens and Dominique Franks, but Sanders has not played as a nickel back.
The Falcons pass defense ranked 22nd in the league last season.