The Falcons will be competing for GM candidates with at least two other teams this offseason. The first is a Detroit Lions franchise with plenty of questions to answer about its talent level and future, plus a shortage of cap space with which to answer those questions. They are, in other words, no better than on roughly even footing with the Falcons in terms of situation, meaning if Atlanta’s preferred candidate is former Texans GM Rick Smith, their best advantage might be his relationship with Rich McKay.
The other opening at the moment, however, appears to be the most attractive on paper. If the Jacksonville Jaguars are competing for a candidate the Falcons covet, there’s apparently sentiment around the NFL that Jacksonville will be the preferable landing spot.
Coaches and scouts generally regard the @Jaguars GM opening as the best one in this crowded cycle. Why?— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) December 27, 2020
• Multiple picks in 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 7th rounds.
• Second least cap commitments for 2021.
• Patient ownership.
• And now, a once-in-a-decade QB prospect.
This may or may not impact the Atlanta GM search, which has featured only two announced interviews thus far, with Smith and longtime Falcons personnel man Anthony Robinson. It is difficult to argue with Breer’s summation of the Jaguars job without sounding like a ridiculous homer, because Trevor Lawrence, tons of cap space and loads of draft picks is the kind of a recipe a lot of general managers would dream of. It gives you the opportunity to put your stamp on a franchise early and the kind of security that comes with having a potentially great quarterback in the mix immediately. Given that the Jaguars have also interviewed Smith, who could take revenge on the Texans if he’s wanting to prove his success there was no fluke, there may well be an impact here.
Atlanta has plenty to recommend it—Blank’s a good owner who has vowed to be less hands on, the Falcons have quality pieces, and the team’s recent history isn’t quite as sad as Detroit’s—but this is the reality we’re up against. If the Jets GM job opens this offseason, as it might, they also have a semi-attractive situation complicated by the fact that they are in fact the Jets.
The Falcons have said they’re planning to interview more candidates after the regular season, so we’ll likely have more names soon. It remains to be seen how many of them will match up with who Jacksonville is targeting, but don’t be surprised if a strong candidate you want for Atlanta winds up chasing the best opportunity on paper.