No NFL figure has a greater combination of insight into both the Patriots and Falcons than Thomas Dimitroff.
The former Falcons GM was dismissed from his post during the 2020 season, but not before presiding over the prime years of one of the NFL’s great all-time receivers, Julio Jones. Before heading to Atlanta in 2008, Dimitroff served in various roles for the Patriots from 2002-07, most notably as their director of college scouting.
So when Dimitroff speaks on the possible fit between Jones and the Patriots, it’s worth listening.
Dimitroff recently joined Albert Breer’s podcast for The MMQB, and was asked about the kind of environment that may be required to facilitate the acquisition of Jones. There’s no doubt that the Falcons wideout is one of the most prolific and dynamic players of his era. But if he went to another team, it wouldn’t be as simple as a plug-and-play situation. Dimitroff alludes to some give-and-take that would be required with players of his caliber.
“You’re going to have to be creative with them – how much time they practice, how you utilize them, I think, is important,” Dimitroff said. “If you have a head coach and an organization who’s really particular about that, that struggles with being creative like that, I don’t think that’s a fit,” Dimitroff said. “If there’s an understanding and a creativity of how you work with Julio going into the next three years, I don’t think there’s an issue thinking that he can be your stud for years to come.”
Just because getting Jones may require some “creativity,” doesn’t necessarily mean Bill Belichick wouldn’t accommodate him. Dimitroff acknowledged that Belichick “works very well with those veteran guys that are really established,” like with Randy Moss back in 2007. But there’s another side of that coin, a financial one, which played a role in Moss’ decline with the Patriots and ultimate departure in 2010. And that may be what ultimately gives the Pats pause.
“I would have no idea if [New England] would ever be into something like that,” Dimitroff said. “They’ve done it with Randy [Moss], of course. But I feel like they’ve put a lot in place and I don’t know. This is an expensive deal, we all know that, and as you know, it’s not just the money at the outset but it’s also, you know, what is this after? And quite honestly, if a player that comes into this situation – you have to be very mindful as a GM and an organization, to say, ‘Are we really going to be, after one really good year, having a knock on our door about doing another contract?’ You really have to step back and look at all that and have really good honest conversations with a guy like [Jones’ agent] Jimmy Sexton. I’m talking really honest and real conversations.”
Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @mattydsays. You can also email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.