The Falcons’ reported interest in Rick Smith and Saints assistant GM Terry Fontenot will lead to interviews, and more candidates are surfacing for the post. Rams college scouting director Brad Holmes will join the pair in interviewing for the Falcons’ GM position, D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
Smith landed an NFL GM gig before recently fired Falcons personnel boss Thomas Dimitroff, rising to that post in Houston in 2006. Smith stayed in that job for 12 years, stepping down after the 2017 season to care for his wife after a breast cancer diagnosis. Tiffany Smith died in January 2019. Rick Smith expressed interest in returning to an executive role late last year and was connected to the yet-to-be-filled Washington GM vacancy earlier this year. A clearer path may emerge in Atlanta.
Fontenot surfaced in the Jets’ GM search last year, interviewing for the job that went to Joe Douglas, and was connected to the Falcons recently. Promoted from Saints pro scouting director to assistant GM earlier this year, Fontenot has been with the Falcons’ top rival for 16 years.
Holmes has lived in Atlanta for several years, scouting ACC and SEC talent, and is serving under ex-Falcons exec Les Snead with the Rams. Snead rose to his current role after working under Falcons president Rich McKay from 2009-11. Holmes has been with the Rams throughout Snead’s eight-plus-year tenure.
Should the Falcons hire Fontenot or Holmes, it would lead to the NFL sending draft picks to another NFC team. The NFL passed a recent initiative aimed at increasing minority hires for GM posts. Both Fontenot and Holmes are Black, which would lead to either the Saints or Rams receiving two Round 3 picks if they were hired for the Falcons post. Smith is also Black but does not apply to this newly implemented rule, being an executive free agent.
It is unclear when these interviews will take place, but the Falcons can begin that process sooner than their coaching interview circuit. The Falcons fired Dimitroff and Dan Quinn in October after an 0-5 start.
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