5:58pm: Dimitroff’s “final say” is over Falcons’ draft and free agency while final say over the 53-man roster is still not determined and could go to the coach, according to NFL.com’s Albert Breer (on Twitter).
4:59pm: The Falcons announced a restructuring of the player personnel department this afternoon with changes affecting general manager Thomas Dimitroff and assistant GM Scott Pioli. Pioli will take on pro and college scouting and NFL draft responsibilities, reporting to Dimitroff. Dimitroff will also “retain management responsibility for salary cap, player affairs, equipment, sports medicine and performance, and video activities,” according to the release.
The new head coach of the Falcons and Dimitroff will report separately to owner Arthur Blank. That search, according to the release, “is expected to be concluded in the coming weeks.”
“After reviewing all of our options – internally and externally – I have no reservations that this is the best approach to setting up our player personnel groups for future success,” said Falcons owner Arthur Blank. “It maximizes the talents of Scott, allows for more time and focus on all areas of our football operations groups managed by Thomas, and is in line with other player personnel groups in the league. While this decision was not tied to the head coach search currently underway, we also believe that independent thinking and collaboration will contribute to taking us to the next level in our league.”
The additional responsibilities for Pioli are likely an effort to keep him in Atlanta this offseason. The former Chiefs GM has been a popular name in recent weeks as he has been linked to a number of vacancies, including the Jets and Texans. The release does not mention a salary increase for Pioli, but one has to imagine that he will be receiving a pay bump in exchange for passing on opportunities elsewhere.
Pioli will be supported by Falcons director of player personnel Lionel Vital, who will assume additional pro scouting responsibilities and play a role in college scouting, and director of college scouting Steve Sabo, along with their staffs.