Over the last few days, the favorites for both the head coach and general manager positions have emerged. Yesterday, it was reported that Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith is the frontrunner to become the Falcons next head coach. Although Panthers offensive coordinator Joe Brady is still in the mix.
However, the general manager vacancy seems to have a much more clear favorite, as Ian Rapoport just tweeted that Saints Vice President and Assistant GM for Pro Personnel Terry Fontenot looks to be on track to take over the front office in Atlanta.
The #Falcons have identified #Saints VP/Assistant GM for Pro Personnel Terry Fontenot as the favorite to be their next GM, sources say. They won’t do a deal until New Orleans is out of the playoffs, but signs point to him being the choice.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 14, 2021
It’s worth noting that Fontenot wears many hats, mostly the Director of Pro Scouting. He has a serious eye for talent, and he’s acquired players at positions that the Falcons have struggled with at times.
Looking at free agents, DeMario Davis became one of the best WILL Linebackers in the game after leaving the Jets — even at age 32. Fontenot’s recently helped snag Emmanuel Sanders and Malcolm Jenkins out of the bargain bin as well. The Saints rarely hand out bad contracts to free agents, and the Falcons had multiple bad ones this offseason.
Scouting Future Opponents
Even with Drew Brees completely toast and Taysom Hill being very limited, New Orleans finds a way to win regular-season games. They will have their hands full with Tampa Bay this weekend, but part of Fontenot’s job is evaluating the talent on the other teams. He’s done well; the Saints always seem to come in with a solid gameplan and adjust. As much as I clown New Orleans, they’ve been in a position to win playoff games (that they choked away) in each of the past three seasons. Most of that should be credited to Sean Payton, but Fontenot has been doing this for 17 years. Making adjustments and game-planning past the first half has been… problematic for Atlanta in recent years, to say the least.
17 years even as a janitor in the NFL is an impressive feat, especially for one organization. This will be Fontenot’s sixth year as the Director of Pro Scouting. He has seen the best years of New Orleans football by far, and I would hedge to say that he had a part in bringing Drew Brees on board, leading to their only Lombardi Trophy 11 years ago. Even if Joe Brady’s “readiness” is questionable, Fontenot knows this game inside and out.