UPDATE: Per Ian Rapoport, the Falcons have identified Terry Fontenot as the “favorite” to be their next general manager, and will look to hire him as soon as the Saints are blessedly bounced from the playoffs.
We’ve had stops and starts where one candidate or another has been named as a “strong candidate” or “top finalist” before, so this is another one you’ll need to see before you believe completely. That said, Rapoport is as plugged-in as anyone not named Adam Schefter, and the signs have been pointing toward Fontenot for a very long time now. So long as Fontenot wants to be in Atlanta, we could get this announcement as soon as Monday if the Buccaneers beat the Saints, which would be nice.
The #Falcons have identified #Saints VP/Assistant GM for Pro Personnel Terry Fontenot as the favorite to be their next GM, sources say. They won’t do a deal until New Orleans is out of the playoffs, but signs point to him being the choice.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 14, 2021
Original story below
Things are speeding up before they will slow down in Atlanta’s search for a new general manager and head coach. The last few days have had a somewhat suspicious amount of smoke surrounding Terry Fontenot, who is widely expected to bring in Joe Brady as head coach. While other rumors have been hit, miss, or non-existent on other prospects, Fontenot has been widely rumored and/or reported as a strong candidate since well before the end of the season and up to today.
The best indicator of actual interest is the second round of interviews. We noted that surrounding Eric Bieniemy, the Chiefs offensive coordinator who either had a great or terrible interview with the Falcons. If Bieniemy interviews again, we can probably guess that first report was inaccurate. Regardless, it should be mentioned that while Brady has been strongly connected to Fontenot, it is unclear what general manager candidate wants to bring in the Chiefs coordinator.
We have one follow-up interview, proving the rumors of Atlanta’s strong interest in Fontenot is indeed legit.
Hearing that Terry Fontenot is a strong finalist for the Falcons' GM job. Sources say he impressed the Atlanta brain trust during his 5-hour interview last week and will get a second interview this week. https://t.co/mF6tFxv1w0— Jeff Duncan (@JeffDuncan_) January 11, 2021
This is the first candidate, either head coach or general manager, that is undergoing a second interview with the Falcons. Fontenot worked his way from the bottom all the way up to assistant general manager, and is generally considered to be a driving force behind a number of New Orleans’ recent great drafts and free agent moves.
Fontenot, of course, has a relationship with Brady, the former Saints quarterbacks coach turned phenom at LSU turned not-quite-phenom at Carolina. The duo makes a lot of sense and gives the Falcons a young offensive mind that has skyrocketed up to more challenging jobs in the last few years.
The guesses keep coming for Fontenot, by the way.
My best information is that Fontenot becomes Falcons GM and Paton Broncos GM. And Broncos offer to hire Kelly as assistant GM and VP of personnel.— Woody Paige (@woodypaige) January 12, 2021
If the Falcons ultimately hire Fontenot and Brady, look for the team to kick the tires on some former Saints and Panthers players.