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.