The Falcons have granted one-year contract extensions to both General Manager Thomas Dimitroff and Head Coach Mike Smith, with President & CEO Rich McKay's extension taking him through 2019.
Rich McKay signed a four-year extension and Dimitroff and Smith each signed one-year extensions. #RiseUp— Jay Adams (@FalconsJAdams) January 27, 2014
There were plenty of fans wondering if Smith, in particular, would go into 2014 as a lame duck head coach, given that his contract would have expired after the season. By signing him to this extension, they remove those questions while not signing Smitty to the kind of long-term pact that would leave a small crater in Arthur Blank's pockets if he were fired. If the Falcons do bounce back, the Falcons already have Smith under contract for 2015. He's 60-36 in the regular season and 1-4 in the playoffs thus far in his six seasons with the team.
Here's a statement from the team, per Vaughn McClure:
"We are fortunate to have talented key leaders at the Falcons who are dedicated to a common goal of being a league leader on and off the field," Falcons owner Arthur Blank said in a statement released by the team. "I have great respect for the skills and commitment of Rich, Thomas and Smitty, and I look forward to continuing to support and work with them in the years to come."
The same happens with Dimitroff, who will be tasked this offseason with overhauling the Falcons' roster to bring the Falcons back into the playoff hunt. He'll do so with the help of Scott Pioli, recently brought aboard to the assistant general manager role. The Falcons have plenty of cap space and the #6 pick, so again, the Falcons are protecting themselves from possibly losing Dimitroff after 2014 if he manages to take those assets and craft a superlative free agent season and 2014 NFL Draft out of them.
McKay is a widely respected executive who does a ton of work for Arthur Blank and is active on the league's NFL Competition Committee. Most importantly from the team's perspective, he'll be in charge of managing the new stadium project, hence the long-term pact.
With these moves, Blank has kept together his current brain trust. It's a vote of confidence that should stop some of the speculation about Smith's 2014 fortunes, but it's one that won't prevent the Falcons from making changes if the next season goes awry. Blank hasn't made a secret of his desire to see this front office and coaching staff succeed in Atlanta, and at least for now, he's putting more stock in the Falcons' winning ways before 2013.
What do you think of the extensions?