While rumors percolate around a possible Chicago Bears regime change after this season, we know with full certainty that change is coming to the Atlanta Falcons at year’s end.
Atlanta fired its general manager and head coach earlier in the season, giving the franchise a head start on compiling a list of candidates to replace Thomas Dimitroff and Dan Quinn. And the early reports on that list include a familiar name in Bears circles.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports Bears Assistant Director of Player Personnel Champ Kelly is on the Falcons’ short-list of candidates. And why wouldn’t Kelly be on the list? He is a rising star in front office circles who has GM potential. Kelly already has experience in this process having interviewed for the New York Jets GM job in 2019. More recently, Kelly participated in the Quarterback Coaching Summit, a program that helps create paths for minority coaching and player personnel candidates to develop and advance. There’s a lot to like about Kelly, so much so he made our short-list of hypothetical Ryan Pace replacements. Additionally, it’s noteworthy to see Kelly emerge as a candidate even as the Bears sit at 5-5.
It’s still early in the process, but the Falcons’ early list of candidates features some heavy hitters. Joining Kelly are Rick Smith (Texans GM, 2006-17), Reggie McKenzie (Raiders GM 2012-18), and Brad Holmes (Rams College Scouting Director, current). Even if a source tells Schefter it’s still early in the process, this is already an impressive collection of names. Should the Bears be in the market to replace Pace, these names are worth keeping in mind.
Between Pace’s placement on the hot seat and Atlanta’s interest in on Kelly, a potential in-house replacement, this situation is worth monitoring.