by Mario Granata
With the recent dismissal of Doug Whaley, everyone who is within earshot of the 716 is wondering who could be his successor. There are a few names being thrown around in the media: names like Brett Veach, who is the Co-Director of Player Personnel in Kansas City, Don Gregory, who is the Director of Player Personnel in Carolina, and Brandon Beane who is currently the Assistant GM in Carolina. There are many reasons why these would be top choices, but before you dive into who will be the new GM in Buffalo, look at the recent developments at One Bills Drive and the blueprint that has been laid out before Sean McDermott.
Given what happened during the draft, and the connections that Sean McDermott has with Andy Reid, it is clear to anyone with open eyes, that McDermott was the one who pulled the trigger on draft day that landed the Buffalo Bills another first-round pick in the 2018 draft. It is that connection with Reid that will ultimately determine who will succeed Whaley at the GM of the Bills. Let us first look at the timeline when these two worked together:
1999: Andy Reid was hired by the Philadelphia Eagles as their new Head Coach and at that very same time, a 25-year old Scouting Coordinator by the name of Sean McDermott was starting with the Eagles as well.
2001: Going into his 3rd year as a head coach, Andy Reid assumes the position of General Manager of the Eagles. That very same year, McDermott switched his roles, as he became the Assistant to the Head Coach.
2002: While Reid is still the head coach, McDermott’s role switches yet again to Defensive Quality Control; a position that he would hold in 2003 as well.
2004: This would be the first time in his tenure with the Eagles that McDermott would be on the field, serving as the Assistant DB coach for Reid and Defensive Coordinator Jim Johnson. The Eagles cruse to their 6th consecutive double digit win season.
2006: After a 6-10 season in 2005, Reid is given a new title as Executive Vice President of Football Operations. A new GM is hired, Tom Heckert (then 38-years old) but Reid has the final word in player personnel.
2009: With Reid still serving as Exec VP of Football Ops, McDermott is promoted to Defensive Coordinator at the tender age of 35; a position he would hold until his departure in 2011.
Why is this timeline relevant? What does it matter what positions Reid and McDermott held when they were with the Eagles?
It is relevant when you look at the fact that from 1999-2003, Sean McDermott was not even on the field, he was in the office, assistant to the coach, learning from Andy Reid on how the daily operations of how a person could be a Coach and a GM at the same time.
It is relevant when one takes a look at the fact that during that time, Reid was in front of the Eagles all the time…the GM was nowhere to be seen.
It is relevant that the very blueprint that McDermott grew up with as a scout and coach in the NFL, a blueprint that was very successful, could be the one that got him hired in Buffalo.
Think about this for a minute: Being a head coach of the Buffalo Bills was not the hottest job out there for people to come to. There had to be a little incentive for a coach to leave a position, especially where McDermott was, to come to ‘just’ be the head coach.
As far as the names being thrown around for the GM position, it is unlikely that the aforementioned gentlemen will take the job.
Veach who is 38 is a possibility, but he is with Reid and his new promotion coming in 2015, he is unlikely to jump ship.
Gregory was just named Director of Player Personnel after spending 10 years as a Director of College Scouting. Getting a promotion in 2016, after spending a decade clawing for that position?
Brandon Beane, who is now the Assistant GM in Carolina, spent his entire career with the Panthers (20 years worth). To uproot because McDermott gives him a call, would be highly unlikely.
Now, obviously if the Pegulas throw a ton of cash at these guys, they would reconsider, however I think that you know where I am going with this article. The GM for the Buffalo Bills is going to be the man who executed the trade with the Chiefs, who has had the blueprint laid out for him by his first employer in the NFL, and the man who was probably offered complete autonomy when he took the job as the Head Coach of the Bills: Sean McDermott.
Look for the Bills to add his new title in the upcoming weeks. However, if I am wrong and the Bills do hire a GM, he will have a lot in common with his predecessor: a figurehead.