Falcons: Thomas Dimitroff reveals conversation with Bill Belichick before making Julio Jones trade

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Thomas Dimitroff was once a subordinate to Bill Belichick in New England before taking the general manager job in Atlanta. Five years as the director of college scouting with the Patriots gave him a fondness for Belichick as a mentor and trusted confidant. In an interview with PFF, Dimitroff opened up about the behind-the-scenes call with Belichick before trading up for Julio Jones.


The former Falcons general manager is starting to become a regular guest in interviews as he has now sat down and spoke with Rich Eisen, Lindsey Rhodes, and PFF. On the NFL Rhodes Show, he said that he doesn’t regret making the trade back in 2011 that netted Julio Jones, but he wouldn’t have done it six years later. Dimitroff said the team was in a much different situation with the salary cap and roster make-up in 2011 than in 2017. Then on the Rich Eisen Show, he weighed in on the fourth overall pick by saying he would select Justin Fields.

Now on PFF, he opened up about the pre-draft call with the Patriots’ head coach and general manager, where Dimitroff asked his opinion of the trade. He said he called Belichick and just ran the idea by him, stating this was something the Falcons were thinking about doing. Belichick then reminded Dimitroff that nobody knows an organization better than its’ general manager, and even if he [Belichick] wouldn’t do it, you [Dimitroff] know better than anyone.

The Falcons were set to pick 27th in the draft that year, moving up 21 spots in a blockbuster trade with the Browns. Atlanta swapped first-round picks, also attaching their second and fourth-round picks from that 2011 draft and their second and fourth-round picks in 2012. With those selections, the Browns selected defensive lineman Phil Taylor, fullback Owen Marecic, and quarterback Brandon Weeden. They packaged one of the picks in 2012 to trade up for Trent Richardson.

Before making the trade, Belichick made sure that Dimitroff was aware that this magnitude of a trade would stay attached to him throughout his tenure in Atlanta and the rest of his career. Then Dimitroff goes on to say he hung up the phone and said that if he makes the trade, “it’s with all due respect,” as if he were talking to his superior. I’m not knocking Dimitroff for making the trade, but I am knocking him for asking for Belichick’s advice, then going the opposite direction of that advice, THEN revealing he did all of this.

First, you’re an NFL general manager, bounce an organization-altering decision like this off your underlings or a trusted mentor OUT OF THE LEAGUE. Second, I’m sick of Dimitroff sitting on these shows and playing these hindsight 20/20 games. He continues to make these appearances with an agenda of getting back into the league or breaking into the media side of sports. And regardless of whichever one, he’s done a poor job of it. The insight he’s providing isn’t ground-breaking; it just makes him look more and more incompetent.

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