The Falcons will apparently not be getting Khai Harley, a respected member of the Saints front office who was responsible for helping to negotiate contracts and handle the cap, to join Terry Fontenot’s new front office.
Per Jeff Duncan, who knows all things Saints, New Orleans has (at least for now) successfully shut Atlanta out of snagging Harley. We’ll see who Fontenot plans to bring aboard instead.
Latest intel: Khai Harley is not a target to go to ATL with new Falcons GM Terry Fontenot. For now at least, Harley is staying with the Saints.— Jeff Duncan (@JeffDuncan_) January 25, 2021
The Falcons have, as far as we’re aware, veteran contract and cap executive Nick Polk under contract, so Fontenot could elect to keep him around or find a new option.
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Atlanta has been busily filling out its coaching staff for Arthur Smith in recent days, but changes in the front office tend to come more slowly, and we’ve heard nothing about how Terry Fontenot plans to change things up there to this point. Until right about now, that is.
We had heard a rumor that the Falcons were after a key member of the Saints front office to join Terry Fontenot in Atlanta, and now a plugged-in New Orleans reporters is confirming that interest. It appears the Falcons are after Saints Vice President of Football Administration Khai Harley, who reportedly helps manage the cap and negotiate contracts.
I've heard new Falcons GM Terry Fontenot would like to bring Saints VP of Football Administration Khai Harley w/him to Atlanta in some capacity, but the Saints are working to keep him. Harley has played a key role in helping to negotiate contracts & manage the Saints' salary cap.— Jeff Duncan (@JeffDuncan_) January 25, 2021
You may look at the nightmare Saints cap situation and wonder why on earth Fontenot would want to take Harley with him to Atlanta, but you don’t have to scratch very far beyond the surface to figure that out. Despite regularly having one of the league’s most dismal cap situations on paper, the Saints have continually added talent and have boasted one of the better rosters in football over the past few seasons, even if that roster has regularly and wonderfully fallen short in the playoffs. That’s a testament to how GM Mickey Loomis and executives like Harley have structured contracts, allowing the Saints to continually put off their day of reckoning in pursuit of championship.
I don’t think the Falcons will leverage their future in quite the same way, but the use of voidable years and creative structuring to maintain flexibility in spite of significant challenges is something that will likely interest Atlanta once they get to a point where they feel they’re well-positioned to contend. Having seen his work firsthand there, it’s not surprising Fontenot would want Harley on board to negotiate contracts.
We’ll see if Fontenot can pry Harley loose and bring some of that cap sorcery to Atlanta.