Thomas Dimitroff signs multi-year contract extension

NFL Network's Bucky Brooks and Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff at the NFL scouting combine. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/dledbetter@ajc.com)

NFL Network's Bucky Brooks and Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff at the NFL scouting combine. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/dledbetter@ajc.com)

Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff has signed a multi-year contract extension, the team is set to announce.

Since being named the general manager on Jan. 13, 2008, Dimitroff has helped to shape the roster that has led to two playoff trips in three seasons. The franchise has posted three consecutive-winning seasons for the first time in its history.

“This extension of Thomas’ contract ensures that he and coach (Mike) Smith, whose contract was extended last month, will be able to continue to work together on solidifying the long-term sustainability and success of our football team,” said Falcons owner Arthur M. Blank.  “Thomas has proven himself to be a highly-skilled and talented general manager of our club, and I look forward to the Falcons reaping the benefits of his work for many years to come.”

Dimitroff, who was a member of the front office of the New England Patriots,  chose to take a more analytical approach to changing the Falcons’ fortunes and culture. He has a hand in all of the key operations, including athletic performance (medical and training), scouting and coaching.

Following the 2010 season, Dimitroff was named NFL Executive of the Year by the Sporting News. He has won the award twice since being named the Falcons general manager in 2008. Since 2008, Atlanta has posted a 33-15 (.688) record, which is tied for the third best in the NFL over the last three seasons.

Falcons head coach Mike Smith and general manager Thomas Dimitroff meet with the media after selecting Sean Weatherspoon. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC).

Falcons head coach Mike Smith and general manager Thomas Dimitroff meet with the media after selecting Sean Weatherspoon. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC).

“First, I would like to thank Mr. Blank for the confidence and support he has shown in me and in Coach Smith over the past three seasons,” Dimitroff said. “I look forward to working with Smitty and his coaching staff as we continue our journey of bringing NFL championship caliber football to Falcons fans and to the city of Atlanta.”

Dimitroff, a 20-year scouting and personnel veteran, made all of the right moves in his first season with the Falcons. He didn’t flinch while taking over a franchise that was attempting to recover from the turbulent Michael Vick era and from the head coach, Bobby Petrino, leaving during the 2007 season for a college job.

After hiring Smith as head coach, the two worked together to construct the team’s foundation. In their first draft, they chose quarterback Matt Ryan, left tackle Sam Baker, middle linebacker Curtis Lofton, wide receiver Harry Douglas, safety Thomas DeCoud and defensive end Kroy Biermann.

The first draft led to Dimitroff’s selection as NFL executive of the year by Sporting News. His second draft wasn’t as fruitful. The top two picks — defensive tackle Peria Jerry and safety William Moore — missed most of the 2009 season.

Moore came on as a starter at strong safety last season, while Jerry was a situational pass rusher as he recovered from knee surgery.

His third draft was also fruitful as linebacker Sean Weatherspoon played well when healthy and defensive tackle Corey Peters cracked the starting lineup.

He has leaned on the expertise of some holdovers such as director of player personnel Les Snead and director of football administration Nick Polk while blending in some of his hires, such as assistant director of player personnel

Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff  and head coach Mike Smith introduce their first round NFL draft pick, Peria Jerry, Ole Miss defensive tackle, in 2009. Who will be the top pick in 2011?  KENT D. JOHNSON / kdjohnson@AJC.COM

Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff and head coach Mike Smith introduce their first round NFL draft pick, Peria Jerry, Ole Miss defensive tackle, in 2009. Who will be the top pick in 2011? KENT D. JOHNSON / kdjohnson@AJC.COM

Lionel Vital and director of college scouting David Caldwell.

Under Dimitroff, the Falcons  have red-flagged players with checkered pasts. The team will continue its practice of removing players from consideration who they feel will not fit into their close-knit locker room.

“We are very particular about our locker room, and we’ve worked very hard to make sure we get a cohesive unit in there,” Dimitroff said at the NFL scouting combine.  “As much as I think at times that we’d like to open up a little bit and think that we could add the challenging soul, it’s so nice as it is, and it’s so cohesive right now, that you don’t want to let go of how good we have it in the locker room.”

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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47 comments Add your comment

Hollywould

March 9th, 2011
2:44 pm

Good move if they happen to play football.

Jimmy

March 9th, 2011
2:44 pm

Wise move, thanks Mr. Blank. Having gone two poor showings by the Hawks–OK City and LA–it’s nice know at least 1 Atlanta franchise is going in the right direction.

buckhead benny

March 9th, 2011
2:49 pm

Thomas D- I just need a couple of good corners for you to bring in this year- one from the draft and one from free agency- a stud DE- Bierman needs to be a backup and a special teams guy- good motor just not dominate- another OT- WR- and a backup scat back-

Were good if we can get some heat and cover people- I know he is higher on chris owens than I am- I think Chris Owens is one of those Practice ALL PRO corners, but when the bright lights come on and the pads get put on- I think the “Charles Dimry” ghost comes out in him. He looks like a deer in headlights out there-

He would definitely be an All Pro in Flag Football-

Jim

March 9th, 2011
2:53 pm

It`s nice to have a `cohesive locker room`as long as you aren`t `one and done ` every year in the playoffs!!!!!!!

Greg's Brezina

March 9th, 2011
3:09 pm

D. Orlando Ledbetter

March 9th, 2011
3:13 pm

Jim — That’s uncalled for in this blog. TD has signed a contract extension. You can bring up that point later.

Falcon57

March 9th, 2011
3:22 pm

Hey D-Led, A couple of questions that are off topic for this blog. One was asked the other day and I never saw a response and that was what’s the deal with Mike Johnson? He was a 3rd round pick from Alabama that played his entire career there and an All-SEC player but was inactive all year with the Falcons. With the current situation of our O-Line’s contract status, I’d like to know if he is going to be someone we can count on and what does the coaching staff think of him? Are they hiding him or is he just not coming along like they had hoped. I noticed that Joe Hawley, who was a 4th round pick was active several weeks last year. Is that because of player position or is Joe just playing better. I know Joe can play guard or center and Mike plays guard and tackle. Can you shed some light on this issue?

Second, Antone Smith? I hear people talking about a scat back but he never really got a shot at playing last year. Is he in the plans or is he just filling a roaster spot. Feedback would be appreciated.

Tom Ace

March 9th, 2011
3:24 pm

D.Led…Jim does bring up a valid point

Falcon57

March 9th, 2011
3:29 pm

Ooops, just saw where Jim got scolded. Guess I’m next.

OH, and congradulations to TD, he deserved it and has certainly master minded the personal since he’s been here. I think given another year the players he’s brought in that have been hurt will come to surface, like what William Moore did this year and add in this years draft, we should be back in the playoffs, assuming there will be playoffs this year.

Still think TD is going to surprise folks with that first pick and take a WR. That interview with MS about the number 2 receiver was a very strong indicator. He didn’t even MENTION our current number 2, Jenkins. So, a new number 2 has got to come from somewhere. Maybe a free agent pick up but if not, don’t be surprised. I know God and everyone else is saying DE but the premium DE’s will be gone when we pick and after that there is a lot of depth there, meaning we could possibly pick one up in the 2nd. Not sure but I’m excited to see what happens.

waynester

March 9th, 2011
3:29 pm

Hope Dimitroff doesn’t change his approach when it comes to these me-first guys who have selfishly hurt their HS & College teams with foolish and criminal behaviour. 31 other teams can have those guys and good riddance. There are enough quality young men who are mature leaders to fill our roster and keep harmony in the locker room while bringing the same skill on the field as the “challenging souls” that some posters on here insist that we need. If nothing else, we can be a living laboratory for the rest of the league in terms of “choir boys” vs “thugs”….Good move, Mr Blank……

JB

March 9th, 2011
3:32 pm

They are Pro’s. Him and Coach Smith……..I remember Jerry Glanville…Geez.

Felix

March 9th, 2011
3:32 pm

I think that Thomas D. And Coach Smith have both done a great job with the Falcons. We have this tendency to look at the negative and not that the Falcons won 12 games this season. We look at the one’s they lost. they were 12 happy days for me. yes I hate the play off loss but it was still a good season. Thanks TD and Smitty

Rikus

March 9th, 2011
3:33 pm

I love how every fan thinks he knows more about drafting and talent evaluation than Dimitroff does. Dude is making this money for a reason.

@buckhead benny – Not sure why you and some others are always harping on how we need new corners. You could have the best corners in the league, but without a pass rush, they will look like crap. We need some pressure being generated from opposite Abe. Points made about Owens may be on-point, but our starting cornerbacks are just fine. Don’t believe me? Consider:

Brent Grimes – Went from UDFA to Pro Bowler. Had some great interceptions (5) and game-changing plays. 23 passes defensed. The most targeted cornerback in the entire league.

Dunta Robinson – The guy opposite him was *the most targeted* cornerback in the league. Teams are throwing away from this guy. That’s the very definition of a “shut-down” corner, no?

loyal falcon

March 9th, 2011
3:33 pm

@ DLED…AMEN. I get tired of hearing all of these cry babies on the blog. The fact is that we have a really good thing going here from management on down. I truly believe we’ll be in the big dance withing the next 2 years…AND WIN IT!

SOUTH GA DAWG FAN

March 9th, 2011
3:34 pm

glad he is locked up for a while i am sure there are several teams that would love to have him

The Real Falcon

March 9th, 2011
3:35 pm

DL first rd.
TE second rd.
RB third rd.
WR-FA
CB-FA

doggoneit

March 9th, 2011
3:39 pm

Playoff games are harder than hell to win. With that said, We have had and continue to have the right personnel in place for the next decade to have a shot year in and year out to win a world Championship! Atlanta Braves knows a bit about this. Great Move Arthur!

ATL Fan

March 9th, 2011
3:53 pm

Looks like Mr. Blank’s formula for success is to pay those who are winners. Reward the people who are making the franchise a contending team year-in and year-out.
I, for one, appreciate that philosophy. Great job Mr. Blank; and congrats to Mr. Dimitroff.

What's Important

March 9th, 2011
3:53 pm

Felix, unless I am mistaken the Falcons went 13-3 in 2010.

Falcons 4 Real

March 9th, 2011
4:09 pm

Good moves to extend both TD and Smitty, the two best hires in team history. Now if we can just get DLed a comparable extension……

[...] “First, I would like to thank Mr. Blank for the confidence and support he has shown in me and in coach Smith over the past three seasons,” Dimitroff said in a statement announcing his extension, according to The Atlanta Journal Constitution. [...]

Joe Tess Fish House

March 9th, 2011
4:22 pm

This is just plane dum. Look at the pic of him with Perrier Jerry one of the fist round busts he drafted and now Mr Blanks xtends his contact? Liek I said B 4 just plane dum!

1990_Champs_GT

March 9th, 2011
4:27 pm

TD has certainly risen our expectations over the last three years. But if the Falcons don’t go to the playoffs this year and win at least one game, he better have a good head coach lined up…

Bust City

March 9th, 2011
4:30 pm

This guy drafts more busts than real players, take a look of his recent bust in the pic above.

Wink

March 9th, 2011
4:37 pm

Dimitroff has done a good job in Atlanta. Congrats on your extention. Just one point, the game is not played in the locker room. I would just say keep an open mind when it comes to talent. Your hair style suggest you know a little something about the “challenging soul”. I mean Arthur Blanks gave you a chance after you entered his office with that hair style. You have done alright with the Atlanta team.

The comment suggest that if Ray Lewis was in his prime or now, you would not consider adding him to your locker room, because of his past history, yet to date he has not been a problem. Just keep an open mind when you draft for our obvious needs on the defense.

[...] According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the team has signed GM Thomas Dimitroff to a multiyear extension. In similar fashion to coach Mike Smith’s extension, the terms haven’t been announced, though they’re both expected to remain under contract for the same time period. “This extension of Thomas’ contract ensures that he and coach (Mike) Smith, whose contract was extended last month, will be able to continue to work together on solidifying the long-term sustainability and success of our football team,” said Falcons owner Arthur M. Blank.  “Thomas has proven himself to be a highly-skilled and talented general manager of our club, and I look forward to the Falcons reaping the benefits of his work for many years to come.” [...]

FACTS

March 9th, 2011
4:46 pm

Much to do about nothing, if Dimitroff & Smith lose their third straight playoff game, Arthur Blank will become the new Dan Snyder of the NFL. Wait & see if this team can compete when it counts, instead of being politically correct & just giving money away! If the Falcons go 8-8 or don’t make the playoffs this will be a dumb move, that will add to Falcon lore.

glacialspeed

March 9th, 2011
5:11 pm

Hope Mr. Blank can afford it given the tough financial straits that the NFL owners are currently experiencing. #sarcasm!

waynester

March 9th, 2011
5:17 pm

FACTS
I don’t think you know what “political correctness” even means–if you believe hiring people of good character is “PC”…PC says that all lifestyles are equally valid that our concepts of “good and evil” are outmoded. To even consider “character and morality” as a benchmark is the antithesis of “PC” under which equality of OUTCOME is paramount. To judge people based on passe’ notions such as Christianity is exactly opposite of what PC commands in which anything goes as long as some protected group isn’t “offended”….

SirReal

March 9th, 2011
5:18 pm

Assuming they don’t shoot the golden goose…(yes, D.Led I know you said it’ll live…and I believe you. I just think it’s gonna sweat bullets a lot longer than anticipated first) this may be a good move. I mean, the team does seem to be on an ascent so you have to give credit where it’s due. In my opinion we still have a ways to go but at least we’re in the right direction with this regime…for me, this draft will tell me a lot about TD going forward.

McNasty

March 9th, 2011
5:23 pm

If politically correct means honest, hard working, mature, productive and not a donkey A$$, then I’m all for it. Sounds like “facts” is a DITTO head with that kind of logic

buckhead benny

March 9th, 2011
5:27 pm

@Rikus- yeah, our starting corners our fine, but for some one that played safety in college- you need at least 3 and 4 that can cover- green bay and all of the top teams dont just run two wr’s at you bro- they run 3-4 to get mismatches like what happen to us- Why do you think the New York jets with one of the best secondaries and defenses in football last year signed Cromartie and drafted a first round cb? they know you have to have 3-4 cb’s that can come in an play- Yeah you got to have a pass rush idiot- but if you got a guy like chris owens trying to tackle dudes before they even make it out of their cut- your screwed- Everyone on any team almost has 2 good starting cb’s on their roster usually, fyi. its the third and fourth cb’s teams look to exploit. It also limits the calls on defense to where you have to throw your corner’s into zone coverages and can’t man up- so you get wr’s that just find the soft spot- I guess you know all of that already then hugh? Why do you think 2 great CB’s couldn’t cover the Green Bay wideouts and Aaron Rodgers could throw it where ever he wanted- it wasn’t just about a pass rush- the third and fourth receiver were wide open all day long-

Falconsfan13

March 9th, 2011
5:43 pm

Very good move!!!!! Now TD and Smitty can put all their focus on the draft, not that they weren’t already fully engrossed in it. TD has built us an excellent foundation that WILL bring a championship to Atlanta!!!!! We lack only a few more pieces to take that next step.

Rikus

March 9th, 2011
5:45 pm

@buckhead benny: wow, way to get defensive dude!! No need for name-calling; this isn’t grade school. I acknowledged that our nickel back isn’t up to snuff. We clearly need to improve that position – but is it a more dire need than DE, which is looking like it will be pretty sad once Abe retires?

Also, I’m glad you metioned how Green Bay had 3-4 good WRs to run at us… would be nice if we had the same weapons!! Right now we can’t produce those same kind of matchup problems for our opponents, and that is why our offense tends to be so plodding.

Yes, nickelback needs an upgrade but I say DE and WR (and possibly OL, depending on FA) are higher priorities.

FACTS

March 9th, 2011
5:52 pm

@ waynester

Teams even question Clay matthews coming out of USC with that “PC” crap, his father & uncle gave their all to the game. Dimitroff wants to prove he can do it Belechiks way, “NOT”, if he can actually get this team to win a playoff game, I digress!

waynester

March 9th, 2011
6:08 pm

Dimitroff certainly isn’t as cold and calculating as BB but he has built a team capable of annually challenging for a playoff berth. You can ignore the fact that he has been named GM of the Year 2 out of the 3 years he’s been in charge and is considered one of the best by his peers and that(not coincidentally) our team made the playoffs in both of those years. His job is to give the staff the tools to work with and HE HAS. He never took a snap or coached a down but the guys he’s brought in have put us in a position to compete in the post-season and that’s been his oft-stated goal. In other words, he’s doing his job. Now it’s up to everybody else to pull their weight and live up to their draft status….

SeenThisB4

March 9th, 2011
6:12 pm

A cohesive locker room? Yeah, uh-huh, easy to say in the off-season.

If there is a season, the real pressure will be on to move forward from a one and out playoff appearance.

Won’t happen, the Saints will win the Division (Who can’t see that train leaving the station?), and the Bucs will squeeze pass Dimwittroff’s & Smith’s boys for the final wildcard spot….

McNasty

March 9th, 2011
6:14 pm

Yep, “facts” is a confirmed DITTO head. Will say anything & think he makes sense. He even discounts a coach who has three super bowl rings. But I guess if you don’t own or manage anything with people involved, or be responsible for any kind of sucessful operation you can just like to read your own posts.

FACTS

March 9th, 2011
6:16 pm

@ waynester

That may be absolutely true about Dimitroff ,but Lebron has many personal awards & actually nothing to show for it. As GM of this team we win & lose together, so a playoff victory maybe just what the doctor ordered for this franchise to get over the “hump”

FACTS

March 9th, 2011
6:24 pm

@ McNasty

Your handle should be “no clue” in fact I do work in management, with 8 years in the military to boot, dweeb. There must be something in the water here, most fans will settle for whatever product these second-tier franchises put out there. I refuse to ride any bandwagon, I respect results! FACTS = Dimitroff has not won a damn thing other than paper weights for his, plush office!

waynester

March 9th, 2011
8:01 pm

FACTS
I absolutely agree with you that winning in the post-season is this teams’ next step(of course we have to win in the reg.season 1st) I just disagree on TD. Sure,there are things I wish had turned out better health-wise for some of our draftees but just like everyone else,TD is totally dependent on some doctors’ opinion of a player’s condition regarding known injuries. Right off the bat, he began his tenure by addressing our most critical needs first and continues to work that way. Only a couple of the guys he’s drafted have left for other teams, and none can be labeled a flat-out bust although some have underperformed expectations. Now that the team is more settled,I hope to see a more aggressive draft strategy. TD may never prove as proactive as I’d like in horse-trading like NE but there’s no way his first 3 years can graded as anything below an A- ( in my opinion, of course)….

Mike is back

March 9th, 2011
10:50 pm

DLed, can you personally tell Mr. Blanks I said thanks…Cuz TD is the biggest show in town…THIS CAT TD…IS ALL THAT AND BAG OF CHIPS.

Please name me one GM in the ATL that’s superior to TD…hmmmmmmmmm…yeah that’s what I said. lol

Wednesday NFL Wrap

March 10th, 2011
3:00 am

[...] Dimitroff signs multi-year contract extension (Atlanta Journal-Constitution) Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff has signed a multi-year contract extension, the team is [...]

No clue

March 10th, 2011
9:43 am

Hopefully he will learn to pick guy that are not on the DL all year long.

Jim

March 10th, 2011
10:08 am

Got `scolded` for stateing an opinion? WTF?

ps I like the extension of TD and MS by the way

DALPZ

March 10th, 2011
12:49 pm

TD needs a new hair stylist for the South.

Ackshun

March 11th, 2011
5:01 am

TDs good but he’s no genius (letting clay matthews and darren sharper get by proves that). He deserves the extension. But I think it speaks more of his potential than it represents any plateau of achieved excellence. Sure the move with Matt Ryan has worked out so far but it could be argued that given a proper opportunity DJ Shockley would have done just as well. Tony Gonzales was a no-brainer. I think you judge a GM by his prowess in the draft and we really haven’t seen that from TD. Not yet. But he’s got heart and upside so congrats and get your butt back to work!!