A day after the Jets' general manager job opened up, longtime Patriots personnel man, former Chiefs general manager, and Falcons assistant general manager Scott Pioli has stepped down from his position to "pursue other potential opportunities."
On Thursday, the Falcons announced that Pioli, who joined the Falcons in 2014 after an unsuccessful GM stint in Kansas City, has decided to leave the team. The news was first reported by ESPN's Field Yates.
There's no way to know for certain if Pioli is angling for the Jets' opening a day after, but the timing of the announcement certainly raises some eyebrows. Still, while Pioli did say he wants to "pursue other potential opportunities," he didn't say what those opportunities could look like. Put another way, for all we know Pioli is pursuing opportunities outside of football. Or he could be angling for the Jets job. At this point, there's no way to know. All we know is that he's "ready for a change."
Here's his statement:
"After careful consideration and ongoing dialogue with Thomas over the past year I have decided to step away from my position as the assistant general manager of the Atlanta Falcons to pursue other potential opportunities. I want to thank both Arthur and Thomas for bringing my family and I here in 2014.
"When I accepted this position more than five years ago, we all believed this would likely be a two or three-year working relationship. I came in to work closely with Thomas on personnel structure, processes and decisions. I loved the concept, was confident I could provide value and have enjoyed the challenge.
"Now, after more than five years with the Falcons, I am ready for a change. I want to thank all of my co-workers at Flowery Branch as it has truly been an honor to be a part of this organization and I am thankful to have been a part of this football team and the Falcons family."
From 2000-08, Pioli worked in New England's player personnel department, holding the VP title for seven of those seasons. He was heavily involved in three of the Patriots' championships, which helped him get the Chiefs' general manager job in 2009.
But Pioli didn't fare nearly as well in Kansas City. With Pioli as general manager, the Chiefs went 23-41 with one playoff appearance in four seasons. He traded for Matt Cassel. He hired Todd Haley as his coach. He used first-round picks on Tyson Jackson and Jonathan Baldwin. His management style was called into question in serious ways. Pioli did, at least, draft Justin Houston and Eric Berry.
After getting fired, Pioli landed on his feet with the Falcons, where he worked closely with general manager Thomas Dimitroff. The two of them had previously been colleagues in New England. Since Pioli joined the Falcons' organization, the team has gone 42-38 with two playoff berths and one devastating Super Bowl loss to the Patriots, and has drafted key players like Devonta Freeman, Grady Jarrett, Tevin Coleman, Keanu Neal, Deion Jones, and Calvin Ridley. The first openly LGBT NFL coach, Katie Sowers, also when she worked as a Falcons scouting intern.
Losing Pioli is a big change for the organization.
"We understand and respect the decision Scott, Dallas, and their family have come to today and wish them nothing but the best," Dimitroff said in a statement. "Over the last five years Scott has not only provided tremendous value to me, but to the entire the Falcons organization. He is a dear friend and will be missed within our organization. We are continuing to assess the structure within our organization and move forward with our next steps."
Naturally, everyone is now wondering if Pioli could be in play for the Jets opening. But according to multiple reports, it sounds like the Jets have eyes for Eagles vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas and NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah