Could We See a Williams-Robinson Reunion in Atlanta?
Dunta Robinson may not be the most popular player with some fans in Atlanta, but his willingness to restructure his contract may have just helped the Falcons make a serious play at Houston defensive end Mario Williams. ESPN's Pat Yasinkas is reporting that the Falcons and cornerback Dunta Robinson have come to an agreement that restructures his contract to free up nearly $1.75 million in 2012. Robinson also agreed to waive a $3 million option bonus and he agreed to lower his base salary by $1 million this season.
But Robinson is going to see some benefits from this new deal as well. The Falcons have fully guaranteed his $5 million base salary for this season, and they have also increased Robinson's 2013 and 2014 base salaries by $1 million per year. His base salary for 2015 was also increased from $9.5 to $11.5 million.
The Falcons could use this money to make a serious offer to potential free agent defensive end Mario Williams, who most likely will be leaving the Houston Texans this season. Williams could be the impact pass rusher that the Falcons need to keep pressure on opposing quarterbacks, and take some of the pressure off of Atlanta's secondary. Robinson and Williams played together in Houston for four seasons, so one could only speculate that trying to bring Williams to Atlanta was part of Robinson's motivation for restructuring his deal.
Williams - the number one overall pick in 2006 out of N.C. State - has become one of the premier defensive ends in the league during his time in Houston, but had his season cut short after just five games in 2011 due to a torn pectoral muscle. He has averaged 9 sacks and 32 tackles per year in six seasons in Houston. If signed by the Falcons, Williams would join an already re-signed Kroy Biermann at the defensive end position, which would most certainly nullify the chances of Atlanta bringing free agent John Abraham back in 2012.