The Atlanta Falcons have signed General Manager Thomas Dimitroff to a three-year contract extension (2017-19). The extension will run congruent with Head Coach Dan Quinn's contract.
"I've always believed continuity in leadership is important to achieving the highest levels of success, be it with our football team or our businesses," said Arthur Blank, Atlanta Falcons Chairman and Owner. "I've seen the relationship between Dan Quinn and Thomas Dimitroff grow over the last two years and we're seeing the fruits of their shared vision and plan coming together in our recent draft classes and free agent acquisitions. My expectations remain very high. By extending Thomas, we expect to see their partnership continue to grow and deliver results for our team and our fans, on and off the field."
Dimitroff has drafted, signed or re-signed, 12 players that have made a combined 22 Pro Bowl appearances. One of those players is franchise quarterback Matt Ryan, who Dimitroff took with the first pick in his first NFL Draft as a GM. He selected the quarterback from Boston College with the third overall pick (2008), and that decision continues to look better each year. Ryan has blossomed into one of the top passers in the NFL, making three trips to the Pro Bowl and recording five straight seasons of 4,000 passing yards. Ryan currently ranks first in passing yards (2,980) and touchdowns (23) while ranking second in passer rating (119.0) and third in completion percentage (69.6%). His performance this season has him in the national conversation as the NFL's MVP and has the Falcons a-top the NFC South through Week 9.
In 2011, Dimitroff traded away five draft picks in order to obtain – now three-time Pro Bowler – Julio Jones with the sixth pick. Dimitroff's calculated decision has paid off, as Jones has proven himself to be one of the best wide outs in the NFL. Jones has quickly moved up the franchise receiving yardage list with 7,060 yards, which is third on the club's all-time list. Last year, Jones recorded 136 receptions for 1,871 yards, which both ranked second on the NFL's all-time single season list. Jones continues to wreak havoc on NFL defenses this season tallying 51 receptions for a league-high 970 yards with five touchdowns.
"I want to thank Arthur for demonstrating the confidence in what we are building here," Dimitroff said. "I have always believed it is about a head coach and general manager sharing a common vision on the type of players they are looking for and how to build a roster. The partnership with Dan has formed quickly and I know we are building a team here that everyone can be proud of. I understand that we still have work to do, but I know we have the people in place to reach the ultimate goal here in Atlanta."
During Dimitroff's first five years his teams made the playoffs four times, and his teams made franchise history by posting back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in franchise history (2008-09). Dimitroff has selected several franchise cornerstones in addition to Ryan and Jones, including T Jake Matthews, CB Desmond Trufant, RB Devonta Freeman, OLB Vic Beasley Jr., DT Grady Jarrett, S Keanu Neal, and LB Deion Jones. He has also added key veterans to the roster via free agency and trades during his tenure like RB Michael Turner, TE Tony Gonzalez, CB Asante Samuel, TE Jacob Tamme, DE Adrian Clayborn, C Alex Mack, WR Mohamed Sanu, FB Patrick DiMarco and G Andy Levitre.
Over the past two years, Dimitroff has teamed with Quinn to craft a roster that highlights speed and physicality. During their first year together in 2015, the two partnered to scout and draft Beasley, who is currently tied for fourth in the league in sacks (7.5). They also drafted CB Jalen Collins, RB Tevin Coleman, WR Justin Hardy, Jarrett, and CB Akeem King.
"Thomas and I have developed a great relationship since the time I accepted this job," stated Quinn. "The partnership between a head coach and general manager is incredibly important when building a winning team. We have a common vision when it comes to constructing this roster and I believe we have built a solid foundation over the last two years. He is one of the best talent evaluators I have ever been around, and I'm fired up for us to continue this process together."
Entering their second year together, Dimitroff and Quinn took Neal off the board with their first pick of the 2016 NFL Draft. Pro Football Focus has Neal ranked as the sixth best rookie this season. Dimitroff also selected Jones who has recorded 51 total tackles, which ranks tied for second among all rookies (Neal is first amongst rookies with 57 tackles). They finished up the draft selecting LB De'Vondre Campbell, TE Austin Hooper, WR Devin Fuller, and G Wes Schweitzer. Campbell and Hooper have proven to be key contributors in their rookie season both making starts and seeing extensive playing time.
Dimitroff's eye for talent extends beyond the NFL Draft to college players who go undrafted, also known as college free agents. The duo found another quality defensive player in undrafted free agent CB Brian Poole, who has helped solidify the nickel corner position. The Falcons have three veteran players on their active roster who were originally signed by Atlanta as CFAs, including T Ryan Schraeder, and LB Paul Worrilow. In addition to those veteran players, S Robenson Therezie made the 53-man roster as a college free agent from Auburn last season, along with RB Terron Ward.
In his nine years with the Falcons organization, Dimitroff's rosters have posted an 80-57 record – the eighth best record in the NFL during that time period.