It would have been a lateral role, and the Falcons understandably weren’t having it.
Kyle Smith is someone Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot clearly trusts a lot. The longtime Washington scout and personnel executive was pushed out by that team after the 2020 season as part of a front office power struggle, but he landed on his feet in Atlanta with the role of vice president of player personnel. That’s the same role as he held in 2020 with Washington, and it was clear he was the de facto lieutenant for Fontenot.
It will stay that way, too, because the Falcons have reportedly turned down a Buffalo Bills request to interview Smith for the assistant general manager role. That report comes to us via ESPN’s Michael Rothstein.
Can confirm the Falcons’ Kyle Smith was the person involved here because he is considered Atlanta’s No. 2 front office person behind GM Terry Fontenot, per a source. https://t.co/rK2KW4SFW3
— Michael Rothstein (@mikerothstein) June 7, 2022
The Falcons can do that because again, Smith is the assistant general manager in all but title. As Terry Fontenot navigates a tricky cap situation and tries to add enough talent to the roster to make this Falcons team competitive again, he’s going to be loathe to lose people he trusts in this front office.
So the refusal is not surprising given that this team seems quite fond of Smith, who gained a reputation as a hard worker and quality college scout in Washington. Fontenot had some very kind words for Smith in a Scott Bair profile this offseason, and the two would appear to complement one another given Fontenot’s extensive pro personnel background and Smith’s more draft-focused experience. Fontenot’s generally done a strong job with this team to this point despite the lack of resources, but the work being done by others like Smith clearly is contributing to that.
“You talk about passion, man, he has it,” Fontenot said. “He grew up in ball. He’s a good person and he’s a passionate person who is literally obsessed with the process.”
The interest is not shocking given that Smith was generally well-regarded in Washington, and he and Falcons quarterbacks coach Charles London are two people to keep an eye on for promotions elsewhere in the years ahead. Hopefully before they leave, the work they’re putting into making Atlanta successful pays off.