Heading into the 2014 off-season, there was certainly some buzz surrounding the status of the “leadership team” of the Atlanta Falcons. While we were already well past the point of worry about whether Mike Smith and Thomas Dimitroff would return to Flowery Branch next season, we got the final confirmation on Monday afternoon.
Rich McKay signed a four-year extension and Dimitroff and Smith each signed one-year extensions. #RiseUp
— Jay Adams (@FalconsJAdams) January 27, 2014
Jay Adams of the Atlanta Falcons (later confirmed by the team’s official Twitter account) announced that the contracts of team president Rich McKay, GM Thomas Dimitroff, and head coach Mike Smith have been extended in various degrees. McKay is the “lower profile” move given his place as more of a front-office piece instead of a player personnel guy, but the Dimitroff/Smith extensions move to center stage.
While the one-year extensions for both guys may not seem like a lot, but the biggest takeaway here is a “vote of confidence” from Arthur Blank. The ultimate slap in the fact (other than being fired) for a coach and/or GM is entering a season as a “lame duck”, and this pact avoids any discussion of that as mini-camps approach.
The Falcons also released a short statement from Arthur Blank following the moves:
“We are fortunate to have talented key leaders at the Falcons who are dedicated to a common goal of being a league leader on and off the field,” Falcons Owner & Chairman Arthur Blank said. “I have great respect for the skills and commitment of Rich, Thomas and Smitty, and I look forward to continuing to support and work with them in the years to come.”
2013 was, quite obviously, a nightmare season for the Falcons, and neither Smith not Dimitroff is immune to criticism for that. Still, both men have done a fantastic job if you look at their full career arc in Atlanta (60-36 record over 6 seasons), and giving them at least one more season to push the “reset” button is something that I wholeheartedly endorse.