The Atlanta Falcons hired two new sheriffs this offseason in head coach Arthur Smith and general manager Terry Fontenot.
While many are expecting a complete rebuild transition, that’s not the case with these two in charge.
“They hired the wrong guys if they thought we were going to lower expectations, take our time, and rebuild,” Smith said, via Football Morning in America. “That’s just not who we are. The expectation is to win now, build for the future, have plans.”
The Falcons went into this year’s draft with clear plans to build around Matt Ryan and add depth to the defense.
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Matt Ryan is Atlanta’s Guy
Smith is confident that Ryan still has plenty of juice left in him and that’s why they skipped the “mistake” of taking a quarterback in the draft this year.
“With Matt, I see a really high-quality starting quarterback who’s thrown for 55,000 yards in this league and had unbelievable experience and is still throwing guys open. It doesn’t sound absurd anymore to say, ‘Hey, I want to play till I’m 40.’ If he didn’t want to play, that would be a different set of problems. We still may not have taken a quarterback at 4 because soon as you take one, if you take the wrong guy, there’s some bad unintended consequences because right away, it’s like, ‘There’s your quarterback of the future.’ And if you take the wrong guy just because you want to win the press conference tonight, it’s like . . .”
So, instead of taking a QB at No. 4 overall, the Falcons turned to another weapon in tight end Kyle Pitts for their vetted signal-caller.
In 12 seasons Ryan has completed 4,460-of-6,817 pass attempts for 51,186 yards and 321 touchdowns and has been the only player crowned MVP in Falcons’ history.
With QB whisperer Arthur Smith in charge now, the Falcons have a shot at turning things around and becoming playoff contenders, especially if the defense can catch up.
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Don’t Cancel Out Atlanta Trading Julio Jones
Now that the draft is complete, the question on everyone’s mind is whether or not the Falcons will trade longtime wideout, Julio Jones.
The Falcons didn’t reconstruct his contract as they did Ryan’s, which will keep him locked in until at least 2023. As for Jones, he becomes fairly available post-June 1st.
If Jones is traded after June 1st, the Falcons have a chance to save $15 million in salary-cap space, but they were to let him go before, then the franchise would take a $23 million cap hit. J
Falcons owner Arthur Blank told King that the club is “not required to make a move with him,” but with Pitts in the lineup now alongside Calvin Ridley, the Falcons would be taking less of a hit on offense.
The Falcons are going to continue to take calls, so don’t be surprised if we’ve seen the last of Jones in red and black.