The Atlanta Falcons search for a new identity, general manager and head coach is well underway and the team spent part of Monday interviewing one of the hottest names on the coaching market, Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Beiniemy.
The longtime NFL player has worked with the Chiefs since 2013 and been the offensive coordinator over the last two seasons as the Chiefs smashed teams and record books along the way. Bieniemy has interviewed with other NFL teams and he may command a steep price as he seeks to transfer from offensive coordinator under legendary head coach Andy Reid to controlling his own team.
Falcons interim coach Raheem Morris has also interviewed for the position after finishing out the 2020 season in charge and spending four years prior as an assistant coach. Morris has also previously been a head coach. The Falcons reportedly want to talk to San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh and others according to multiple reports.
The Falcons also need to get a general manager in place, which will likely come before the head coach is hired. The Falcons has interviewed team scouting/director of college scouting Anthony Robinson and former Houston Texans GM Rick Smith. Houston fired Smith last season but he had a knack for finding key players including: J.J. Watt, DeAndre Hopkins, DeShaun Watson, Jadeveon Clowney, Benardrick McKinney and others. Still, his teams finished with a .479 winning percentage during his time in Houston.
Whoever is picked for the general manager's job, they will inherit a salary cap mess heading into the 2021 season. The team is approximately $24 million over the projected salary cap heading into the 2021 offseason. Making matters worse, the majority of that cap space is tied up in just six players who take up $136.3 million of salary cap space in 2021. That means tough decisions are likely ahead for the Falcons as is a likely rebuild of the team.
Quarterback Matt Ryan may be safe on the roster, simply because making a move with his $40 million plus cap/dead cap hit makes things very difficult, but not completely impossible. Wide receiver Julio Jones could be a cap casualty as well as other longtime Falcons players. It's going to take a lot of cap maneuvering to get a competitive team together and may make 2021 a complete rebuild year if the Falcons want to go in that direction.