In a bit of interesting news, apparently the Falcons GM search has a new leader.
— Bridge (@BridgesFootball) December 24, 2020
This is still just a report and something that one guy is saying, but Smith would not be a shock to me at all. From our profile on him:
From 2006 to 2017, he served as the Texans general manager. In 2012, he welcomed more control and a new title, becoming the team’s Executive Vice President of Football Operations and general manager. As I mentioned before, Smith left the Texans after the 2017 season. It has been well documented the foremost motive for Smith’s departure was his wife’s battle with breast cancer. Tiffany Smith passed away on January 31, 2019, a little more than a year after Rick stepped away from football.
Although Smith left his position to be with his family and care for his wife, it cannot be understated how the relationship between himself and Bill O’Brien affected his decision. By 2017, Rick and former Texans head coach Bill O’Brien, who had been hired three years earlier by owner Bob McNair with input from Rick, were having differences about how the organization was being run. After Smith decided to take a minimum 12-month leave of absence, McNair gave most of Rick’s authority to O’Brien. Rick says McNair called him to his office six months later and told him he no longer saw a place for him in the organization.
Smith can be directly credited and blamed for many of the transactions in Houston. These were some of the notable acquisitions made during his tenure with the Texans.
- DE J.J. Watt – via draft
- WR DeAndre Hopkins – via draft
- QB Deshaun Watson – via draft
- DE Jadeveon Clowney – via draft
- CB A.J. Bouye – via college free agency
- RB Arian Foster – via college free agency
- DE Mario Williams – via draft
- QB Matt Schaub – via trade
- RB Lamar Miller – via free agency
- C Chris Myers – via trade
- LB Benardrick McKinney – via draft
- LB DeMeco Ryans – via draft
- OT Eric Winston – via draft
- WR Will Fuller – via draft
- TE Owen Daniels – via draft
As you can see, Smith has an almost immaculate reputation for finding talent. The one major blemish? Quarterback. Aside from Deshaun Watson, Smith never hit on any quarterback. And though Watson seems to be well on his way to an MVP or two, for every Watson, there is a Brock Osweiler. Rick Smith is the sole reason for Houston trading up to acquire the franchise’s best quarterback in Watson, but he is also why Osweiler received a contract worth $72 million over four years.
This is not anything new, though; every great general manager has had a few blunders. The difference between an average executive and a great one is admitting the mistake and subsequently fixing it. Once it was realized that Osweiler and O’Brien were never going to work, Smith forged one of the most improbable trades in NFL history, packaging Osweiler with a second-round pick and dumping him on the Browns. He had this to say about it, “You are going to make mistakes in this business,” Smith says. “Either you admit them and find a solution, or sit in them.”
I wouldn’t be too mad about Smith, but I do think bringing him in now may be premature. We’ll keep you updated with any developments.