Fontenot will join new head coach Arthur Smith in Atlanta.
A new era in the ATL. pic.twitter.com/Qf9YbUVg0j
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) January 19, 2021
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Fontenot is in his 16th season with the Saints but his sixth as the team’s director of pro scouting. He is responsible for evaluating players from all professional leagues, including the Saints roster, monitoring the waiver wire, and supervising the advance scouting of upcoming opponents.
He has helped land some notable players to stack the defense including linebacker Demario Davis, linebacker Kwon Alexander and defensive ends Cameron Jordan and Trey Hendrickson, and safety Malcolm Jenkins.
Before being promoted to his current role, Fontenot spent seven years as a professional scout for New Orleans. Over the years, he has been a big help to New Orleans general manager Mickey Loomis and building the Saints into a Super Bowl contender.
The Saints will close in on their fourth consecutive NFC South title and have dominated the Falcons in recent years, winning six of seven meetings.
Fontenot is a former ballplayer himself and played safety at Tulane (1999-2002) and was the team captain in 2001 and also made the 2002 Hawaii Bowl team. The former Green Wave has a degree in business and organizational information technology.
He went back to school in 2012 where he attended Stanford Business School’s executive-education NFL-Stanford program, which is well-known across the league for training future executives.
Fontenot Refuses to Be a Prisoner
Like Smith, Fontenot had his first press conference with the Falcons on Tuesday and has a clear vision of what he plans to bring to the franchise.
“We’re going to make decisions to have sustained success, we’re not going to be prisoners of the moment,” Fontenot said via ESPN. “We’re not going to make decisions that help us in 2021 and hurt us in [2022 and 2023].”
Fontenot really plans to hone in on the Falcons 42-player roster that is $32 million over the salary cap. Though, he and Smith know it’s going to be a long project that could spill over into next season.
“I need to really drill down the details and do it along with Arthur Smith and once the coaches are in, we need to have extensive meetings with them and really look at this roster and really determine how we feel about each player on the roster,” Fontenot continued. “Where they are in their careers, what’s their plan for development, or what’s their plan for maintaining them.”
Fontenot and Smith did not know each other during the interview process, but Falcons owner Arthur Blank said they both spoke highly of each other. Fontenot is ready to create the perfect bond with his new head coach.
“I couldn’t be more excited about Arthur Smith. He’s special,” Fontenot added. “I think the most important thing, the most critical factor with the right head coach is to have the right leader of men. He’s a good man, he can connect to players, he can connect with everyone in the building, he’s gonna be a good communicator. He’s highly intelligent and he’s adaptive.”