From NOLA to Atlanta, Terry Fontenot is ready for life’s next step

The Atlanta Falcons bring in new life with the hire of Terry Fontenot as general manager. Photo by Matt Siciliano-Salazar | The Signal

The Atlanta Falcons announced former Tennessee Titans Offensive Coordinator Arthur Smith as head coach back on Jan. 15. On Jan. 19, they announced hiring former New Orleans Saints Director of Pro Scouting Terry Fontenot as general manager. 

With this hiring, Fontenot became the first Black general manager in the Falcons’ 56-year history in the NFL. 

Along with Smith, Fontenot now takes on reconstructing an already talented Falcons roster. 

Julio Jones, Grady Jarrett, Matt Ryan, Dion Jones, Calvin Ridley and many other talented players can help put the Falcons back into title contention. 

Fontenot has spent the last 18 years with the Saints: first as a pro scout, then director of pro scouting and eventually as the vice president and assistant general manager. 

Fontenot brings an excellent eye for scouting out talented players. 

During his time with the Saints scouting department and front office, Fontenot was able to spot team needs and talented players via the draft, free agency or mid-season acquisition. 

All-Pro talent under Fontenot includes Cameron Jordan, Terron Armstead, Max Unger, Andrus Peat and more. 

During his time as the New Orleans Saints’ Director of Pro Scouting, Fontenot played a hand in the Saints’ exceptional 2017 draft class, featuring Alvin Kamara (2017 Offensive Rookie of The Year) and Marshon Lattimore (Defensive Rookie of the Year). Both Kamara and Lattimore are All-Pro players. 

During his introductory press conference on Jan. 19, Fontenot immediately stated the Falcons will be a “culture of competition and want to bring in good players at every position.” 

When asked about Arthur Smith as a head coach, Fontenot connected his job as a former scout to recognizing Smith’s potential as a head coach. 

“Over the last couple of years, I was intrigued by him and started doing my own research,” Fontenot said. 

When asked about his and Smith’s decisions about the handlings of the 53- and 48-man roster and other areas, Fontenot tells reporters “they’ll be on the same page.” 

“It doesn’t matter,” Fontenot said. “We are going to communicate … We’re going to make Falcon decisions.”

Regarding the draft process, Fontenot has his priorities set, with only one concept in mind.

“In the draft, you’re going to take the best player … We’re never going to be afraid to take any position and build the strength.”

The Falcons ended their 2020 season, finishing with a 4-12 record, and missed the playoffs for a third straight season.

Smith and Fontenot look to turn the Falcons’ misfortunes around and bring a title to Atlanta’s city.