Is Falcons HC Arthur Smith on the hot seat?

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With the Falcons’ loss to the Saints on Sunday, Atlanta will officially finish the season with a sub-.500 record, marking the fifth-straight year without a winning record. This organization has been on a downhill trajectory since the infamous Super Bowl, and it’s fair to wonder if they’ll ever pull themselves out of this rut. The new regime has made encouraging moves, but Arthur Smith and Terry Fontenot have also made some head-scratching ones. However, what’s not fair: starting ‘hot seat’ conversations.

No disrespect to David Schiele, but I don’t think he’s been watching the Falcons every single week since Arthur Smith took over. Because if he had, I don’t think this would be the sentiment he’d use. Sure, all of those things are true, but what the hell are we even doing without context?

The new regime took over a mess of a salary cap, and it’s nothing to gloss over. The Falcons were allocating an excessive amount of cap space to aging veterans that weren’t worth their bloated contracts. Moving off of Matt Ryan, Deion Jones, Julio Jones, Dante Fowler, and others was imperative for the new regime to get a fresh slate, even if the dead money hits were massive — Ryan’s was even record-breaking.

The Falcons are operating with nearly $80 million in dead cap, which means a large portion of the overall salary cap is being used on players no longer with the team. How is anyone expected to get a ragtag roster like that to the postseason? Schiele has delusional expectations for Arthur Smith, I guess.

Now, if the Falcons are in a similar position this time next year, this conversation will be completely different. The 2023 offseason will be the first time under Smith that fans will have legitimate expectations. The team is set to potentially have north of $90 million in cap space, which should go a long way in improving the personnel. At that point, it’s fair to judge Arthur Smith in this light. But to make sweeping judgments based on less than two seasons with arguably one of the least talented rosters in the NFL is just foolish. The seat isn’t even lukewarm.

Photographer: John Byrum/Icon Sportswire

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