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Big defensive paydays not yet offensive to Falcons' Desmond Trufant

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FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Atlanta Falcons Pro Bowl cornerback Desmond Trufant is well aware of the lucrative contract extension cornerback Darius Slay just received from the Detroit Lions.

Slay, a second-round draft pick in 2013 who has yet to be named to the Pro Bowl, received a four-year, $48 million extension that included $21.3 million guaranteed and a $14.5 million signing bonus. Slay's average salary of $12 million per season ranks eighth among cornerbacks, with Washington Josh Norman ($15 million), Arizona's Patrick Peterson ($14.01 million), Seattle's Richard Sherman ($14 million), and the New York Jets' Darrelle Revis ($14 million) leading that group.

"Definitely respect for Slay," Trufant said. "He was in our draft class. Yes, definitely a great player."


So when will Trufant, who has evolved into one of the best at his position and shuts down his side of the field, get his big payday? Well, a couple more defensive players were rewarded with lucrative extensions this week in Cardinals defensive back Tyrann Mathieu and 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman. Trufant certainly will be the next Falcons defensive player to be rewarded with a long-term extension. The only other player on the roster right now likely in line for a significant pay bump is right tackle Ryan Schraeder.

"I've just got to focus on me and being a leader and a teammate," Trufant said. "Everything else, it's going to come. I know it's a business so [earning a new contract] is always an objective. But I'm just focused on getting better, being consistent, being a leader, and I know [the contract] will come."

Trufant, the 22nd overall pick in the 2013 draft, is under contract through the 2017 season after the Falcons exercised the fifth-year option at $8,026,000. This season, he'll make $1,518,558. Considering the franchise tag for cornerbacks was $13,952,000 this season, the Falcons essentially are in control for the next three seasons at roughly $25 million factoring in this year's salary, the fifth-year option figure and the possible franchise-tag number for Trufant in '17.

Then again, completing a deal early would allow the Falcons to reduce cap charges on a top of market contract.

However it all unfolds, Trufant is not one to publicly complain about his contract situation. His time will come. He saw how both quarterback Matt Ryan and wide receiver Julio Jones were rewarded with extensions before entering the final years of their rookie contracts. Ryan, a 2008 first-round selection, signed his five-year, $103.75 million extension on June 26, 2013; Jones, a 2011 first-rounder, signed his five-year, $71.52 million extension on Aug. 31, 2015.

While he's willing to wait, Trufant wants to be among the highest-paid cornerbacks in the league, of course.

"You're always working for that," he said. "Like I said, as long as I'm being consistent and working and being a leader, that's going to come."

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