If the Atlanta Falcons wanted to create more buzz heading into their 2017 season, they have thrown out the entire front office, announced a plan to be aggressive spenders in free agency, and promise the return of the popular black uniforms. The fact that they've done none of these things suggests they will stay the course, for better or for worse.
Instead, as we've noted, it appears the Falcons will stay the course in free agency, and the front office is certainly here for another year. They figure to have plenty of cap space and are likely to land several free agents, but there's nothing to suggest they'll be active players for the biggest names on the market. They are not, in other words, going to build an offseason around trying to sell tickets in 2017.
That's what you want a team to do, of course, given the long-term consequences of short-term, financially motivated decision-making. The consequence of that is obvious: If the Falcons fall short against a tough schedule this year, a fanbase that is already getting sick of mediocre results is all the more likely to pass on the opportunity to flock to the new stadium. With Dan Quinn on board with his vision of a fast, physical team built on defense, which the team seems very invested in, you've got to think long-term or risk trading a little fan excitement for many more lousy years.
One suspects that parting ways with Dimitroff and/or Pioli will be Arthur Blank's ace in the hole if the 2016 season is a disappointment, given how much of the fanbase reviles Dimitroff in particular. It's encouraging to think the Falcons have a long-term outlook, and we'll have to hope it's a good one.