Falcons sign GM Dimitroff to a 3-year contract extension
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) General manager Thomas Dimitroff finally has the security he wanted from the Atlanta Falcons.
Dimitroff signed a three-year contract extension on Monday, ending questions about whether this season, the final year of his deal, would be his last with the Falcons.
''This is where I wanted to be, so I'm really happy I got the opportunity to be here a little longer,'' Dimitroff said. ''We're in a spot where I think the arrow definitely is up, and I think we have a lot of budding talent here that can take us to the levels we want to get to.''
Financial terms were not disclosed for Dimitroff's new deal, which runs concurrently with coach Dan Quinn's through 2019.
Owner Arthur Blank said in a statement that he's been pleased with Dimitroff's work in 1+ seasons alongside Quinn.
''My expectations remain very high,'' Blank said. ''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.''
The Falcons never had consecutive winning records before Dimitroff was hired in 2008, and they were above .500 in his first five seasons and made the playoffs four times. Dimitroff was credited for drafting quarterback Matt Ryan, receiver Julio Jones, running back Devonta Freeman and cornerback Desmond Trufant.
The Falcons have begun rebuilding one of the NFL's worst defenses under Quinn, a former defensive coordinator in Seattle. The Falcons drafted defensive end Vic Beasley, defensive tackle Grady Jarrett, safety Keanu Neal and linebackers De'Vondre Campbell and Deion Jones over the last two years. All five are starters.
When Quinn was hired in February 2015, Blank gave him the final say on which players comprise the 53-man roster and the 10-player practice squad.
''It was never an ultimatum,'' Quinn told The Associated Press. ''I just wanted a guy I knew I could work with. I don't want to be the overseer of it all. I want somebody I can work with from the personnel side. Honestly, we haven't had decisions where it was tenuous or tough.''
Dimitroff is the point man in targeting players for the draft, free agency and trades. He's in charge of scouting and player contracts.
''In all the years I was with coach Mike Smith and in the two years I've been with Dan, we have never been at a spot where we have disagreed on who that player is,'' Dimitroff told The AP. ''It's not really anywhere near the issue people make it out to be. Dan and I have a very good working relationship that way. In the end, there has to be someone who has (the 53-man roster). It can't be a mutual decision.''
The Falcons won six of their first seven games last year in Quinn's first season, but they stumbled in the second half and finished 8-8. They're off to a 6-3 start this year, have the NFC's second-best record and enter a bye week in seemingly good shape to make the playoffs for the first time since 2012.
Before Quinn arrived, Dimitroff and Smith led the team to a 10-22 record after advancing to the NFC title game. Smith was fired, but Dimitroff managed to keep his job despite bearing responsibility for the slide.
''Yes, difficult, but not down in the dumps, not feeling sorry for myself,'' Dimitroff said. ''I understand what I signed up for in this position. We have an excellent fan base here, a very knowledgeable fan base, and they want a championship football team. We're going to do all in our power to put it together.''
Notes: Quinn said Trufant was getting a second opinion Monday on his injured shoulder. Trufant was hurt in last week's win at Tampa Bay. Quinn said the team would update Trufant's status on Wednesday.
For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL