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Thomas Dimitroff and the well-oiled front office machine

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Through careful planning and number crunching, Thomas Dimitroff and the front office have been able to re-sign everyone.

By Adnan Ikic@SayWhichWay  Aug 13, 2018, 12:00pm EDT

 

 

The Atlanta Falcons have made great strides since those mediocre to awful seasons in 2013 and 2014, basically rebuilding their entire foundation through incredibly savvy draft selections and free agent signings.

Between 2013 and 2018, the Falcons have added the following players via the draft: Desmond Trufant, Robert Alford, Jake Matthews, Devonta Freeman, Ricardo Allen, Vic Beasley, Tevin Coleman, Grady Jarrett, Keanu Neal, Deion Jones, De’Vondre Campbell, Austin Hooper and Takkarist McKinley. Ryan Schraeder and Brian Poole were also brought in as undrafted free agents.

In that same timeframe, the Falcons have added the likes of Alex Mack, Mohamed Sanu and Brandon Fusco through free agency while trading for Andy Levitre. Three of these players are the projected starters on the interior of the Offensive Line and Sanu is the team’s number two Wide Receiver.

Other than a few core pieces (namely Matt Ryan and Julio Jones), Atlanta’s current roster isn’t even recognizable to the one the team fielded in that 2013 season.

 

The $$$ ?

However, with excellent draft success comes sacrifice, as good players demand big money when their rookie contracts are up. General Manager Thomas Dimitroff, who’s been lauded for his savvy manipulation of the salary cap, has done an incredible job of locking most of these young star players into contract extensions. Even with the free agent signings, the Falcons have yet to lose a valued contributor to free agency as a result of not having enough money.

During the team’s stellar 2016 season, it came time to start paying the piper for Dimitroff and the front office. With Matt Ryan and Julio Jones already locked into contracts which made them among the five highest-paid players at their respective positions at the time of signing, the young stars from those aforementioned draft classes came for their due as well.

Dimitroff managed to sign Schraeder, who’s one of the best right tackles in the league, to a team friendly 5 year/$31.5 million ($12.5 million guaranteed) contract extension in November of the 2016 season. Just two weeks later, he agreed to terms with CB Robert Alford, whom many thought the team might lose in free agency at the end of his deal, on a 4 year/$38 million ($21 million guaranteed) contract. This also has turned into a bargain with how well Alford played last season.

 

Desmond Trufant was the big re-signing of the 2017 offseason, agreeing to terms on a 5 year/$68.75 million ($41.56 million guaranteed) contract which made him among the highest paid CBs in the game. Shortly after training camp that summer, Dimitroff came to terms with Devonta Freeman on a 5 year/$41.25 million ($22 million guaranteed) extension, making him among the highest paid RBs in the game.

This past offseason, there was an even bigger fish to fry, with Matt Ryan due for a monster contract extension which was agreed to in the first few days of May. That agreement was to the tune of 5 years for $150 million with a monstrous $100 million in guaranteed money. Both the expected base salary and the guaranteed money figures for Ryan’s contract were inflated after the 49ers re-signed Jimmy Garoppolo and the Vikings signed Kirk Cousins a few weeks earlier.

Then, Julio Jones unexpectedly unexpectedly held out of mandatory June minicamp after reportedly demanding an adjustment to his current longterm contract. Dimitroff and Dan Quinn managed to diffuse that situation by converting approximately $2 million of his 2019 base salary into a 2018 signing bonus.

Since the beginning of Training Camp, Dimitroff has agreed to terms with starting Left Tackle Jake Matthews on a 5 year/$75 million (guaranteed money unknown) extension, and has more recently come to terms with starting Free Safety Ricardo Allen on a 3 year/$19.5 million (guaranteed money unknown) extension. Plans to extend star Defensive Tackle Grady Jarrettare in the works.

 

Extensions for everyone?

To be able to extend all of your vital core pieces while at the same time using free agency and the trade market to rebuild your offensive line (something a team like the Seattle Seahawks never bothered to do and are now paying for it as a result) is impressive.

Dimitroff and the front office have achieved this through careful planning and looking at the big picture, while even working around some unexpected hurdles (Cousins’ massive guaranteed money bloating Ryan’s contract, the Giants driving up Jake Matthews’ market value by paying Nate Solder so much money and Julio Jones’ new contract demands) to still make it all work under the salary cap.

Next offseason, with the pending extensions of star players like Keanu Neal, Deion Jones and Vic Beasley looming, we should brace ourselves for the expectation of losing some contributors (namely guys like Tevin Coleman and De’Vondre Campbell). To have locked in so much of this good young core in today’s salary cap era, and without so much as a single training camp holdout since 2009, is still a testament to the machine-like efficiency which has been displayed by the Falcons’ front office. This team is in good hands.

 

 

https://www.thefalcoholic.com/2018/8/13/17659728/thomas-dimitroff-and-the-well-oiled-front-office-machine

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I started a thread in offseason

“TD plays chess while everyone else plays checkers” and was demonized for it, but I stand by it 100%.

TD is brilliant, not just good, but brilliant, and I guaranty you his name is going to start being mentioned in the discussion of the best GM in the NFL.

He isn’t just responsible for the awesome players we have, but also responsible for keeping them. 

ICD, raysnill1, athell and 11 others like this

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TD has been a good GM since the day he walked in the Branch. He's finally learned from his early mistakes and has a HC who let's him leverage his strengths and minimize his weaknesses. Plain and simple. Some of us have been trying to explain this for years. Only now, some are coming around. 

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1 hour ago, HouseofEuphoria said:

The last 10 years have been awesome as a fan.

From the ashes of 2007, we have risen as one of the relevant teams year in and year out.

All I ever wanted.

Kung-Pow likes this

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6 hours ago, vel said:

TD has been a good GM since the day he walked in the Branch. He's finally learned from his early mistakes and has a HC who let's him leverage his strengths and minimize his weaknesses. Plain and simple. Some of us have been trying to explain this for years. Only now, some are coming around. 

Yeah I remember not too long ago people on this board wanted TD fired instead of Mike Smith. Thank God fans don’t run the Falcons.

cwell1, Kung-Pow, gazoo and 2 others like this

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1 hour ago, Caddieman said:

Yeah I remember not too long ago people on this board wanted TD fired instead of Mike Smith. Thank God fans don’t run the Falcons.

No they didn’t. Well, maybe our one guy (FF70) did. :ninja:

Seriously some wanted both fired, but majority of board knew smith’s time was up. 

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44 minutes ago, Vandy said:

No they didn’t. Well, maybe our one guy (FF70) did. :ninja:

Seriously some wanted both fired, but majority of board knew smith’s time was up. 

There was definitely a contingent that blamed TD for "giving Smitty crap talent" and thought Smitty would be a good HC with a better GM. 

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7 minutes ago, vel said:

There was definitely a contingent that blamed TD for "giving Smitty crap talent" and thought Smitty would be a good HC with a better GM. 

:sadwave:

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1 hour ago, Vandy said:

No they didn’t. Well, maybe our one guy (FF70) did. :ninja:

Seriously some wanted both fired, but majority of board knew smith’s time was up. 

Truth be told I wanted both gone after 2014, but wanted Dimi gone at least a year prior. Blank fixed that when he spread many of Dimi's duties between Quinn, Pioli and the GM Squad though. 

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On 8/14/2018 at 8:40 AM, vel said:

There was definitely a contingent that blamed TD for "giving Smitty crap talent" and thought Smitty would be a good HC with a better GM. 

Other than perhaps FF70 and a few trolls? Nah....

TD has been an excellent GM, and smitty was a good coach with TD. But they both made mistakes, just as all such partnerships do that last 7 years together (which BTW as you know is very rare accomplishment in today’s NFL, and should not be glossed over). They both contributed to team’s unprecedented successful run (2008-2012) but both also contributed to where they found themselves at end of 2014 season, which is why Blank fired smith and restructured management including giving Quinn more say in team direction than smith ever had. 

Assuming they last together as long as TD/Smith did, TD and Quinn have and will make their share of mistakes as well. But I do think they have what it takes to win a SB, which will make them the best GM/coaching pairing we’ve had.

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I am all about giving TD the credit he deserves- and he deserves it.

 Dimitroff started out like gangbusters in 2008.

From 2009-2012, his drafts were awful (yes the 1st round injuries of Jerry/Witherspoon contributed somewhat) outside of Julio trade and the talent drain showed as a lagging indicator in the 2013-2014 season.  There is a distinct reason in 2015 that Dimitroff’s job was in jeopardy above & beyond the team’s lack of success.  The 53 man roster wasn’t good.  TD’s tenure was hanging by a thread. Arthur kept TD, shifted some of Dimitroff's job responsibilities in personnel to Scott Pioli - AND - left TD hanging a bit as Blank restructured the power and organizational base.   The new head coach would have great sway in personnel and have tremendous input on whether Dimitroff would be retained for the long term past 2015 season.

To Dimitroff’s Credit, he adapted and humbled himself - this is how he survived.  TD kept hiring former GM’s to beef up scouting department, quickly adapted to the new power structure and immersed himself in a new Young head coach who knew exactly what he wanted in a football player - specifically defensive players.

Since Dan Quinn has been hired, TD has done great - but there were legitimate reasons why he almost lost his job - and before you blame it all on Smitty - Smitty was hand picked by one Thomas Dimitroff.

Dimitroff’s greatest strengths are missed by most on this board.  His strengths are not personnel, not drafting, not free agency, not the salary cap - Thomas Dimitroff’s greatest strengths are ADAPTABILITY and LACK OF EGO.  Also TD has good eye for building a scouting department.

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4 minutes ago, g-dawg said:

I am all about giving TD the credit he deserves- and he deserves it.

 Dimitroff started out like gangbusters in 2008.

From 2009-2012, his drafts were awful outside of Julio trade and the talent drain showed as a lagging indicator in the 2013-2014 season.  There is a distinct reason in 2015 that Dimitroff’s job was in jeopardy above & beyond the team’s lack of success.  The 53 man roster wasn’t good.  TD’s tenure was hanging by a thread and Arthur kept TD, shifted some of his job responsibilities in personnel to Scott Pioli - AND - left TD hanging a bit as he was looking for restructured power base and the new coach would have great sway in personnel and if Dimitroff would be retained for the long term.

To Dimitroff’s Credit, he adapted and humbled himself - this is how he survived.  TD kept hiring former GM’s to beef up scouting department, quickly adapted to the new power structure and immersed himself in a new Young head coach who knew exactly what he wanted in a football player - specifically defensive players.

Since Dan Quinn has been hired, TD has done great - but there were legitimate reasons why he almost lost his job - and before you blame it all on Smitty - Smitty was hand picked by one Thomas Dimitroff.

Dimitroff’s greatest strengths are missed by most on this board.  His strengths are not personnel, not drafting, not free agency, not the salary cap - Thomas Dimitroff’s greatest strengths are ADAPTABILITY and LACK OF EGO.  Also TD has good eye for building a scouting department.

Excellent post G.

 

 

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I've been watching the NFL for a long time while having a specific interest in team building and management and I don't think I've ever seen a good team be able to keep all its players to the extent the Falcons have. I know some things are probably going to change next year but it is still remarkable how they have done this. 

Edited by Summerhill
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1 minute ago, FentayeJones said:

These guys don't get enough credit around here. These are the guys who bring TD and DQ the Kazee's, Foye's, Campbell's, Rico's, Poole's and the Jarrett's.

Yessir, it takes a Village - not a one man show.  If you have garbage scouts, the GM will struggle.  TD’s best eye for talent is his eye to build scouting department.  Both David Caldwell (Jags GM) and Les Snead (Rams GM) served under TD for Falcons.

Scouting is the lifeblood 

Garbage IN = Garbage OUT

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3 minutes ago, g-dawg said:

Yessir, it takes a Village - not a one man show.  If you have garbage scouts, the GM will struggle.  TD’s best eye for talent is his eye to build scouting department.  Both David Caldwell (Jags GM) and Les Snead (Rams GM) served under TD for Falcons.

Scouting is the lifeblood 

Garbage IN = Garbage OUT

Yep. if you are in charge you have to know how to surround yourself with talented people.

Folks also forget about (or don't know about) Nick Polk - the guy who actually negotiates contracts and manages the cap for TD.

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Just now, FentayeJones said:

Folks also forget about (or don't know about) Nick Polk - the guy who actually negotiates contracts and manages the cap for TD.

Yes FJ, I bring Nick’s name up on this board often when TATF goes crazy on “TD’s a cap wizard” stuff.  Nick Polk’s J-O-B is negotiating/structuring contracts and salary cap- he is the TRUE salary cap wizard.

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this is precisely why we MUST go back to being a well oiled offensive juggernaut and sark has to get his act together. We're witnessing something incredibly rare in Atlanta sports, extended excellence.  what a waste of talent and GM effort it will be if we don't become dominant again on both sides of the ball.  I blame Quinn if sark doesn't improve the offensive attack dramatically    the thought of wasting tevin coleman in his last year and not throwing the ball to our running backs makes me sick.  but it sounds like sark may be promoting this type of play this year, so there's hope for a super bowl run!

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15 minutes ago, Summerhill said:

I've been watching the NFL for a long time while having a specific interest in team building and management and I don't think I've ever seen a good team be able to keep all its players to the extent the Falcons have. I know something are probably going to change next year but it is still remarkable how they have done this. 

Tough choices lie ahead.  Given a lack of BAD contracts on the roster, I don’t believe what has been done so far has been that difficult in retaining players- however, it is about to get increasingly more difficult now as so many guys up for new deals in next few years and lots of big contracts now on the books.  We will lose some players.  Certainly will lose Tevin Coleman.  We will probably have to choose between Vic Beasley & DeVondre Campbell- right now Beasley would be the pick there but lets see what 2018 season brings-maybe we can keep both.

FalconFanSince1970 likes this

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5 minutes ago, ket222 said:

this is precisely why we MUST go back to being a well oiled offensive juggernaut and sark has to get his act together. We're witnessing something incredibly rare in Atlanta sports, extended excellence.  what a waste of talent and GM effort it will be if we don't become dominant again on both sides of the ball.  I blame Quinn if sark doesn't improve the offensive attack dramatically    the thought of wasting tevin coleman in his last year and not throwing the ball to our running backs makes me sick.  but it sounds like sark may be promoting this type of play this year, so there's hope for a super bowl run!

Greg Knapp was brought in for a reason.  His title might only be QB Coach but believe his role behind the scenes is likely bigger.

Summerhill likes this

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