Mr. Blank, emotions can hurt you: Especially in the NFL – BY DAN MATHEWS

falcons, julio jones, 680 the fan
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) makes the catch ahead of Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Ryan Smith (29) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

April 28, 2021
Trying to lock up players to long-term deals in order to make them “Falcons for life,” is what has the team in its current situation. Team owner Arthur Blank’s words of the past are coming back to bite him.

Giving huge long-term deals to Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Grady Jarrett and Devonta Freeman were the signs of being too close to this team. I get it. The team is your investment. They are your business. Please feel free to run them any way you wish.

FILE Atlanta Falcons’ Arthur Blank walks the field before an NFL divisional playoff football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018, in Philadelphia. (AP FILE Photo/Michael Perez)

It is a noble thing to be known as the owner who will pay players. Just please don’t let the personal relationships melt into the professional ones that need to be had first and foremost.

Ryan’s deal in 2018, was the rate of doing business with a proven winner at quarterback. That is what NFL teams did. Those days, with the proliferation of the passing offense in college are starting to become a thing of the past.

In regards to Jones, that was almost a “poison pill” that was signed in 2019. $64 million guaranteed? Jimmy Sexton is a heck of an agent. Even though there is no other Julio Jones in the NFL… You still should have resisted the urge to pay a wide receiver that type of money.

With Freeman, you had gotten everything you could out of him production wise. Hindsight is 20-20. But, the long-term money should have gone to Tevin Coleman. Freeman was basically like a second round draft pick in the NBA, who becomes a very productive player. You find said player… You don’t pay them.

I can understand giving Jarrett the money they did. He’s probably your best defensive player. Part of that was probably due to the previous general manager not finding much success on either line and wanting to keep a player who performed at a high level for one of these positions.

I bring all this up to say this… Let’s general manager Terry Fontenot and head coach Arthur Smith do their jobs. I’m not saying you won’t let them. But, you’ve brought them in to build this roster back to a competitor in the NFL.

In other words, no more “Falcons for life.” Long-term commitments in a salary cap world almost never meet at the right intersection. Your current GM is on the record saying that they have to make trades to fix the current salary cap constraints.

Atlanta fans love your commitment to this city and organization. But please, leave your heart out of it when it comes to contracts. No one is going to doubt that you care about the Falcons being a winner. You’ve proven that with your financial and emotional support of the team.

Dan Mathews

Chuck Oliver Show – Anchor/Fill-In Host
WCNN-AM 680 The Fan, also on FM at 93.7

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