Extra Points: Falcons, Fontenot, Broncos

One of four teams who fired their GM in-season, the Falcons have been looking into Saints assistant GM Terry Fontenot, according to CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora. However, the NFL’s new minority hiring rule may complicate matters. Were the Falcons to hire Fontenot, who is Black, the Saints would receive two third-round picks. Fontenot has been with the Saints longer than Sean Payton and rose from pro scouting director to assistant GM this year.

How many teams would trade two third-round picks for an unproven GM?” a source familiar with this situation informed La Canfora. “… Is it worth (the Saints) getting two straight extra third-round picks — possible 10-year starters — just to hire their assistant general manager? They like Terry a lot, but I’m telling you, that’s a very real factor in the discussion. I’d be shocked if they (hired Fontenot) based on what I’ve heard.”

This would fall into the “unintended consequences” category for the new rule. However, the recently passed rule that will award teams two third-rounders if another franchise hires a minority head coach or GM from their organization has bothered some around the league. Multiple NFL voices of color expressed concerns, via ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter, about this initiative passing so quickly and without much notice. These sources also expressed curiosity about potential intradivisional hirings and how teams (such as the Falcons) will proceed when third-round draft choices are now part of the equation, Schefter adds.

Here is the latest from around the league:

  • Going forward, Roger Goodell will be able to fine teams that fail to comply with an NFL rule mandating franchises have one person in ownership holding final say — particularly on league voting matters, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports. Bengals owner Mike Brown proposed stripping teams that violate this rule of their vote on league issues, but Florio adds the owners voted to keep fines (up to $10MM) in place rather than see teams have their respective votes stripped. Neither the Broncos nor Titans have a primary owner. The Broncos’ squabble involving multiple children of late owner Pat Bowlen will result in the team paying steep fines until the issue is resolved. One source told Florio that, rather than seeing older Bowlen children stand down for top successor candidate Brittany Bowlen, the Broncos will end up being sold. Pat Bowlen bought the team in 1984.
  • With the salary cap expected to fall by a record number in 2021, franchise and transition tag figures will drop from their 2020 places. Using the 2021 cap floor ($175MM) to calculate tag figures, CBS Sports’ Joel Corry expects the running back tag to drop by a staggering 19% — from $10.3MM (on this year’s $198.2MM cap) to $8.3MM — and every position’s franchise tag price to drop by at least 10%. While this would factor into situations like the Packers’ with Aaron Jones or the Steelers’ with James Conner, both those teams are projected to be well over the 2021 cap (as of Dec. 4). That will make using a tag incredibly difficult.
  • Authorities dropped all charges against free agent defensive back Kameron Kelly, according to NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter). The Steelers waived the defender after he was arrested for disorderly conduct and making terroristic threats last year. The NFL has since closed its review on the matter as well. Kelly, who played in 14 Steelers games in 2019 after arriving in Pittsburgh as a UDFA, is a free agent who may attract interest after playing well in The Spring League this year.
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15 comments on “Extra Points: Falcons, Fontenot, Broncos

  1. JJB0811

    What if the N.O. GM retires and they promote the assistant GM to the role, do the Saints still get 2 additional picks?

  2. clemente3000

    Sounds like the rule will impede minorities rather than help? I want to hire you for what would be a promotion but can afford you because it will cost me draft picks.

    • juanpursuit

      I don’t think it costs you draft picks, it just lets another team get them.

    • crosseyedlemon

      If the only motivation behind these minority hirings is the acquisition of draft picks then the likely outcome will be a revolving door approach throughout the league. That’s just a cosmetic change with no long term benefits for those minorities.

  3. Michael Chaney

    I assumed that the two third round picks would be added to the round (like compensatory picks), as opposed to the hiring team giving them up.

    I don’t think this will help minority candidates at all then. If anything, it will hurt them; a team is extremely unlikely to trade two decent picks for an unproven exec (or coach) when they could hire another one and keep the picks.

    • juanpursuit

      I think it is just comp picks. I don’t know why the Falcons are making it seem like a deal breaker.

      • Jim Tom

        I would imagine it’s because it’s a division rival that’s already a better team. Why hire an unproven guy and help a rival out?

        • arthur blank_for owner

          exactly, 2 third round picks is a lot…this rule is ultimately hurting any minority hire chances. Plus,.why in the world would the team who loses the individual get the picks, wouldn’t make way more sense the team that makes the minority hire get the Picks?!

  4. Ak185

    Leave it to the NFL to force an issue where none exists. I understand that it might be a little inconvenient for a few owners that a couple of teams are having succession issues, but finding them for that is rather stupid. The Broncos, for instance, have picked a successor. Her aunt refuses to accept it. Suddenly, it’s the team’s fault that she is defying the ruling of the board appointed by the owner to do exactly this: designate a successor. Does the NFL think that Denver just needs a little motivation to pick an owner? That they were just waiting on Goodell to tell them to move it along? Does a fine really accomplish anything here, other than making the notoriously generous Mike Brown less unhappy?

    • Jim Tom

      That’s right. The NFL just wants a reason to get money. It’s just like all of these covid fines this year. Completely stupid. Goodell is the host of Whose Line is it Anyway. It’s like he just makes this stuff up as he goes.

    • crosseyedlemon

      Goodell is partly responsible for the ownership mess that developed in Denver. It would not have been difficult for him to meet with Pat Bowlen during the last year of the owner’s life and assist in forming a clear transition plan.

      • Arnold Ziffel

        Don’t think so, Mr. Bowlen had Alzheimer’s and could not make any decisions.

  5. juanpursuit

    Is absurd that a team wouldn’t hire the most qualified GM because a team in their division would get two thirds. GM is so ridiculously important that another team getting two third round picks is an easy price to pay.

    • Ak185

      Well, given the average shelf life of a GM (let’s say four years?) and the average of a good third round pick (similar, possibly longer), you’d have to really bank on someone being pretty good to make it worth the compensation. Thing is, good GMs don’t stay in low level positions, nor do they come up for hire. Whomever you’re hiring is someone that you most likely are taking a chance on to begin with. Add the strengthening of a good team’s draft (GMs rarely get hired away from bad teams as first timers), it does create another layer of hesitancy for the hiring group. This rule may motivate good teams to advertise their minority employees more for compensatory reasons, but it also compels the team doing the hiring to be extra sold on the candidate, or on the cause itself.

  6. Cosmodogs

    I love how the league “claims” they are trying to stop discrimination by creating even more discriminatory rules. The solution to stop discrimination, if you assume there is any(?), is not to discriminate against someone else.

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