Falcons, Pro Bowl safety Moore reach deal

The Atlanta Falcons announced on Saturday that they had agreed to a five-year contract with safety William Moore, who earned his first Pro Bowl berth this past season.

With the start of unrestricted free agency just around the corner, Moore was one of the most important players for the Falcons to re-sign. General manager Thomas Dimitroff had said eight days ago when the team cut three veterans to clear cap space that the priority was re-signing the team’s own players.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is reporting the deal is worth $6 million per year with $14 million guaranteed. Last year, the Falcons re-signed their other starting safety Thomas DeCoud to a five-year deal worth $17.5 million.

Like Moore, DeCoud also earned his first Pro Bowl berth this past season, as the Falcons advanced to the NFC Championship Game, losing to San Francisco.

The Falcons would probably have liked to sign Moore to a similar deal; however, Moore certainly had more leverage to negotiate his deal than DeCoud did. Moore, who has struggled to stay healthy during his career – he missed the season’s final four regular season games in 2012 – has a nose for creating turnovers. In 2012, he had four interceptions, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery while being one of the team’s leading tacklers.

With Moore back in the fold, the Falcons no doubt will try to get left tackle Sam Baker signed. Baker is coming off a career season, with by far his fewest sacks allowed.

Another key free agent is cornerback Brent Grimes, who earned his only Pro Bowl berth following the 2010 season. Grimes, whom the team tagged as its franchise player last year, tore his Achilles’ tendon in the season’s first game and missed the remainder.

Since the Falcons cut Dunta Robinson (who signed with Kansas City late on Friday), they either need to get Grimes re-signed or find some other kind of plan for a starting cornerback.