Terry Fontenot’s persistence can fix Falcons top-heavy roster

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The Falcons are widely considered to be one of the bottom teams in the league this year, which has everything to do with the roster’s construction and not the recent hires of Arthur Smith and Terry Fontenot; in fact, Smith will be the only reason the Falcons are a competent team this year. The team’s salary cap issues have been well-documented by the national media. I have also highlighted a few different financial tools and how they apply to the Falcons’ money woes and could keep them out of the playoffs for years.

Jason Fitzgerald, who founded Overthecap.com, did an interesting piece that highlighted the poor standing the Falcons are in right now and in the future. Essentially, Fontenot and Smith were given a half-sunk ship and told to save it. Fitzgerald put a graph together of the most expensive rosters by annual contracts and how much each team is projected to have in cap space next season.

The graphic below shows teams in the bottom right as “all in” while the top left is “playing with house money.” The top right quadrant has “good flexibility to keep growing a competitive team,” while the bottom-left quadrant is teams that have “bottomed out.”

“The X-axis shows this year roster value based on the APY of all the players on the team while the Y-axis shows next year’s projected salary cap space (and it includes the early estimated for cap carryover),” Fitzgerald explained.
Even with all the concerning financials of the future and present, Terry Fontenot won’t let that deter him from making this roster the very best he can. His persistence could be the only thing that can fix the Falcons’ top-heavy roster. In an interview with Tori McElhaney, Fontenot elaborated on how the front office plans to better the roster anywhere, any time. The pro personnel department is the facet of the front office that shoulders most of this load.

“What they do is they work hard to anticipate cuts on the rosters: who’s getting cut, who are the bubble players that are on the fringe, and really study those rosters so that we are as prepared as possible,” Fontenot said. “There are going to be some surprises at the cut down, and that night we want to be able to focus on the surprises and spend time on those, but we want the pro guys to work hard on having as many of the guys graded as possible.”

Fontenot certainly has his work cut out for him because the biggest problem with this team is their lack of quality starters and depth pieces. There are enough stars on the team, but the guys that don’t get much media attention — ones pivotal to a team’s overall success — are missing. Fontenot made his name in this exact area in New Orleans, so we should have no reason not to trust his acquisitions of NFL players.

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