The Atlanta Falcons have been clear that signing corner Desmond Trufant to a long-term contract is an offseason priority.
Over the weekend during the NFL Scouting Combine, progress seems to have taken place. D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that negotiations picked up as Trufant's agents and the Falcons' brass met a popular steak restaurant in Indianapolis.
Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff has been blunt about the need to retain one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL for the long-term.
"Our next major move is going to be Desmond," Dimitroff told the AJC last week. "Once we get that done, we have the next tier of guys that we are going to get finalized. Then we'll keep our eyes open in free agency."
The 22nd pick in 2013, Trufant enters 2017 on the fifth-year of his rookie contract, set to earn $8.026 million.
Recent cornerback contracts indicate the speedy Trufant will be in line for a big payday. Last year Josh Norman signed a five-year, $75 million contract with $36.5 million guaranteed. Janoris Jenkins earned five years for $62.5 million with $28.8 million guaranteed. And Darius Slay signed for five years, $48 million with $23.1 million guaranteed.
Atlanta even gave second corner Robert Alford a four-year contract worth $38 million with $12 million guaranteed. If Alford, who has had an up-and-down career, is earning top-15 CB pay, Trufant should see top-five money.
With the Falcons getting younger on defense, the GM isn't worried about how a big-time deal for Trufant might throw the salary cap out of whack.
"We have a fortunate situation right now, where we are able to sign two corners because we have the young linebackers, young safeties and a young defensive end," Dimitroff said. "In time, we'll have to be creative with that, but for now we are in a good spot."
Trufant missed the second half of the season and the Falcons' Super Bowl run after suffering a torn pectoral. The 26-year-old corner is expected to be ready for offseason workouts.