The Falcons orchestrated a stunning draft-day trade, shipping five picks to the Browns for the sixth overall selection, which Atlanta used to grab wide receiver Julio Jones. It was a showy turn, but Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff insists he doesn't regret the move despite another disastrous playoff tumble.
"We said -- when we made the very aggressive move on Julio Jones -- that this was not only a move for the here-and-the-now," Dimitroff told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution this week. "This was a move for (the) long-term success of this organization, and I believe 100 percent in what we did being the right move for this organization at this time in our evolution. ...
"We are very confident that he'll continue to grow with (quarterback) Matt (Ryan) in this offense. He'll continue to be a standout football player and help us produce for years to come."
Jones, who came within 31 yards of a 1,000-yard season, might be teamed with Ryan, but it's clear a number of key Falcons will find new homes. Atlanta houses no less than 17 free agents on its roster, and Dimitroff acknowledged both in this week's Q&A and in a Wednesday news conference that changes are ahead.
Unlike VanGorder, not everyone in Atlanta can go back to school. Those who remain with the Falcons will enter next season wearing the label of "regular-season toughs/postseason softies."
Really only one thing can change that.