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Terry Fontenot, Brad Holmes and Rick Smith appear to be finalists for Falcons GM opening

Fontenot seems to be a hot candidate this winter, Holmes has gained steam as the Rams have impressed, and Smith put together a career in Houston that only seems more impressive as the Texans fall further into the abyss.

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

The Falcons general manager search still appears to be down to two-to-three names, and it’s the two or three you’d expect based on all the reports we’ve read in recent days. That’d be Saints executive Terry Fontenot, Rams executive Brad Holmes, and former Texans general manager Rick Smith.

We did see a couple of interesting updates today that are worth sharing here. The first is that Colts executive Morocco Brown is apparently the first candidate to be told he won’t be getting the job, or at least the first one we’ve seen reported. That comes from AJC beat reporter D. Orlando Ledbetter, who adds that Brown’s representation thinks Smith and Fontenot are the two finalists. There’s no mention of Holmes from their end, but he has interviewed twice.

Then there’s this from The Athletic’s Jeff Schultz, who says he spoke to someone who portrays the Falcons as weighing Holmes and Fontenot. As he notes, Fontenot has more experience on the free agency and trade side of the house for New Orleans, while Holmes has been heavily involved in draft classes for the Rams. There’s no mention of Smith here.

I don’t know if we’re any closer to finding out who has the job—my gut still says it’s Fontenot’s, given that he’s come up most consistently over the past couple of weeks—but the Falcons are probably going to have to make a decision soon with Fontenot nabbing interviews in Jacksonville and Denver and Holmes interviewing in Detroit.

Original story below

Information has been flowing in fast regarding the Atlanta Falcons head coaching and general manager jobs, with one name getting a huge boost in the search for the latter opening this morning.

ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter linked Terry Fontenot, the New Orleans Saints VP and assistant general manager of pro personnel, as one of “two or three” finalists for the GM job with the Falcons. Fontenot’s consistently been mentioned as one of the top candidates for the opening after 16 years with the Saints, including in his current role as the vice president/assistant general manager role. In that time, Fontenot has obviously had a prominent role in the team’s success over that span, and in a role on the pro personnel side has likely had a major hand in bringing aboard major contributors including linebacker Demario Davis and cornerback Janoris Jenkins. The wealth of experience for (as much as we hate to say it) one of the best teams in the league indicates he’s ready to run his own front office.

Schefter also mentioned the Denver Broncos as a potential landing spot for Fontenot, a team that saw longtime executive John Elway step into a new role in Mile High.

The report is consistent with one from ESPN we saw over the weekend mentioning Atlanta GM buzz for Fontenot and Los Angeles Rams director of college scouting Brad Holmes, who has the approval of Rams GM Les Snead, a former Falcons executive with Thomas Dimitroff and said to be a friend of Falcons executive Rich McKay. That report mentions Holmes lives in the Atlanta area full-time.

If there are three finalists, could they be Fontenot, Holmes and former Texans GM Rick Smith? Given that Smith has repeatedly been mentioned as a top candidate, that Holmes comes up over and over again in connection to this job, and now Fontenot is reportedly a finalist, we’re going to say yes. We all have our personal preferences for candidates on that list, but any of three would represent a strong, seasoned hire for an Atlanta team that desperately needs to upgrade its roster.

Fontenot’s hiring would also be a boost for New Orleans under new league rules, per Schefter:

We’ll see how this goes, but Fontenot is certainly a popular candidate on the trail right now and seems to have played a big part in securing the pretty, forgive us for saying this, impressive Saints roster. We’ll keep you updated on anything else we hear in the GM search, but if the Falcons truly are down to two or three candidates, we’ll likely know who the new general manager is pretty soon.