Falcons Rumors

2022 NFL General Manager Search Tracker

Along with the head coaches being fired, a few NFL teams are looking for new general managers. Listed below are the GM candidates that have been linked to each of the teams with vacancies, along with their current status.

If and when other teams decide to make GM changes, they’ll be added to this list. Here is the current breakdown:

Updated 1-27-22 (11:00pm CT)

Chicago Bears

Las Vegas Raiders

Minnesota Vikings

New York Giants

Falcons TE Lee Smith Retires

Lee Smith managed to play tight end in the NFL for 11 seasons, despite none of those including 100 receiving yards. The well-regarded blocker announced his retirement Tuesday.

Smith spent his NFL days with the Bills, Raiders and Falcons, playing in Atlanta for one season. He will walk away after 16 games with the Falcons, having assisted in Cordarrelle Patterson‘s late-career running back breakout.

I couldn’t feel more blessed that I get to step away on my terms,” Smith said, via AtlantaFalcons.com’s Scott Bair. “It just doesn’t happen that way very often. Yet here I am, a stiff-as-hell fifth-round draft pick who found himself a niche-y role and figured out a way to stay around.”

A 2011 Patriots draftee out of Marshall, Smith landed with the Bills via waiver claim that September. He signed a three-year, $9MM deal with the Raiders in 2015. In Oakland, Smith worked alongside a three-Pro Bowler offensive line to help Latavius Murray to a 1,000-yard season. The Raiders re-signed him in 2018, but Smith rejoined the Bills a year later — on another three-year deal worth $9MM — and was part of the team’s resurgence.

Buffalo traded Smith to Atlanta during the 2021 offseason. Although the Falcons rostered Hayden Hurst and top-five pick Kyle Pitts, Smith played 311 offensive snaps this season. Smith finished his career with 73 catches for 523 yards and 11 touchdowns.

NFL Reserve/Futures Contracts: 1/24/22

Here are Monday’s reserve/futures deals:

Atlanta Falcons

Buffalo Bills

New Orleans Saints

Pittsburgh Steelers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Updated 2022 NFL Draft Order

The Divisional Round has come to end, and after each game was decided on the final play, the season has come to a bitter end for another four teams. That brings the total number of squads locked into their first round draft position to 28. Interestingly, the Rams and 49ers are still standing after they each parted ways with top draft picks this past offseason. San Francisco’s first choice is currently slated to be 61st overall, while the Rams aren’t projected to be on the board until the 101st pick. For Los Angeles in particular, the decision is certainly paying off so far.

For non-playoff teams, the draft order is determined by the inverted 2021 standings, plus a series of tiebreakers, starting with strength of schedule. For playoff teams, the order is determined by their postseason outcome and regular season record.

Here is the updated order after this weekend’s results:

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars: 3-14
  2. Detroit Lions: 3-13-1
  3. Houston Texans: 4-13
  4. New York Jets: 4-13
  5. New York Giants: 4-13
  6. Carolina Panthers: 5-12
  7. New York Giants(via Bears)
  8. Atlanta Falcons: 7-10
  9. Denver Broncos: 7-10
  10. New York Jets (via Seahawks)
  11. Washington Football Team: 7-10
  12. Minnesota Vikings: 8-9
  13. Cleveland Browns: 8-9
  14. Baltimore Ravens: 8-9
  15. Philadelphia Eagles (via Dolphins)
  16. Philadelphia Eagles (via Colts)
  17. Los Angeles Chargers: 9-8
  18. New Orleans Saints: 9-8
  19. Philadelphia Eagles: 9-8
  20. Pittsburgh Steelers: 9-7-1
  21. New England Patriots: 10-7
  22. Las Vegas Raiders: 10-7
  23. Arizona Cardinals: 11-6
  24. Dallas Cowboys: 12-5
  25. Buffalo Bills: 11-6
  26. Tennessee Titans: 12-5
  27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 13-4
  28. Green Bay Packers: 13-4
  29. Cincinnati Bengals: 10-7*
  30. Miami Dolphins (via 49ers)
  31. Detroit Lions (via Rams)
  32. Kansas City Chiefs: 12-5*

* = Remaining playoff teams

Updated 2022 NFL Draft Order

With the Wild Card round complete, another six positions in the 2022 NFL Draft have been confirmed.

One of the most interesting developments relates to the Philadelphia Eagles. After losing on Sunday, their own first round pick has been locked in at No. 19, having already known they would also own the 15th and 16th selections. What the team does with that much draft capital will be one of the most interesting storylines of the draft.

For non-playoff teams, the draft order is determined by the inverted 2021 standings, plus a series of tiebreakers, starting with strength of schedule. For playoff teams, the order is determined by their postseason outcome and regular season record.

Here is the updated order after this weekend’s results:

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars: 3-14
  2. Detroit Lions: 3-13-1
  3. Houston Texans: 4-13
  4. New York Jets: 4-13
  5. New York Giants: 4-13
  6. Carolina Panthers: 5-12
  7. New York Giants(via Bears)
  8. Atlanta Falcons: 7-10
  9. Denver Broncos: 7-10
  10. New York Jets (via Seahawks)
  11. Washington Football Team: 7-10
  12. Minnesota Vikings: 8-9
  13. Cleveland Browns: 8-9
  14. Baltimore Ravens: 8-9
  15. Philadelphia Eagles (via Dolphins)
  16. Philadelphia Eagles (via Colts)
  17. Los Angeles Chargers: 9-8
  18. New Orleans Saints: 9-8
  19. Philadelphia Eagles: 9-8
  20. Pittsburgh Steelers: 9-7-1
  21. New England Patriots: 10-7
  22. Las Vegas Raiders: 10-7
  23. Arizona Cardinals: 11-6
  24. Dallas Cowboys: 12-5
  25. Cincinnati Bengals: 10-7*
  26. Miami Dolphins (via 49ers)
  27. Buffalo Bills: 11-6*
  28. Detroit Lions (via Rams)
  29. Kansas City Chiefs: 12-5*
  30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 13-4*
  31. Tennessee Titans: 12-5*
  32. Green Bay Packers: 13-4*

* = Remaining playoff teams

Latest On Falcons WR Calvin Ridley

The next time we see Calvin Ridley, he could be in a different uniform. While the Falcons are still holding out hope that the receiver will eventually return to the team, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo believes a trade could be in the cards (Twitter link).

The wideout announced in late October that he’d be stepping away from football to deal with his mental health. Nothing has really changed since that time, and according to Garafolo, there hasn’t been a whole lot of communication between Ridley’s camp and the Falcons organization. Eventually, the Falcons are going to need to touch base with Ridley and figure out whether his return is realistic.

Ultimately, a fresh start could end up being the preferred option for Ridley. Per Garafolo, while the receiver has no ill will towards the team, he’s dealing with personal things that could (somewhat) be remedied by getting traded elsewhere.

The 2018 first-round pick emerged as one of the NFL’s top wideouts in 2020, finishing with 90 receptions for 1,374 yards and nine touchdowns. This was going to be a pivotal year for the former first-round pick. The Falcons picked up his fully guaranteed fifth-year option but have not yet signed him to an extension. The team also traded Julio Jones to the Titans, firmly establishing Ridley as Atlanta’s No. 1 wideout.

His numbers were a bit underwhelming through the first four games, with Ridley hauling in 27 catches for 255 yards and one touchdown. Since that time, he’s only seen time in one game, when he caught four passes for 26 yards and one touchdown.

NFL Reserve/Futures Contracts: 1/12/22

A number of players continue to sign reserve/futures contracts, which allows organizations to retain (mostly) young, practice squad players throughout the offseason. We’ve compiled today’s reserve/futures contracts below:

Atlanta Falcons

Chicago Bears

Denver Broncos

  • DE Jonathan Kongbo

Detroit Lions

Indianapolis Colts

New Orleans Saints

Minnesota Vikings

  • G Kyle Hinton

New York Jets

Washington Football Team