Terry Pegula is clearly frustrated that the Bills’ playoff drought continued for a 16th season – an 8-8 record was not what he expected from the squad he owns. But he’s not disappointed enough to issue an ultimatum to his general manager and head coach, as was reported earlier today by the Buffalo New. In fact, it’s apparently not even in his nature.
Bills’ reporter Vic Carucci initially reported that Bills Owner Terry Pegula issued a “make the playoffs in 2016 or your fired” ultimatum to both general manager Doug Whaley and head coach Rex Ryan in a late season meeting. That story has since been contradicted by reports of a multi-year contract extension being worked out between Pegula and Whaley. It certainly would make little sense for Buffalo’s front office to give a “playoff or bust” ultimatum, then offer an extension to their GM, who has just one year left on his contract anyway. There was clearly some kind of miscommunication with this story, but such is life in a the wild world that is the NFL off-season.
WGR 550’s Jeremy White, out of Buffalo was the first to report the conflicting report about a potential extension being in the works for Whaley. White said a source confirmed the two sides (Pegula and Whaley) had verbally agreed to the terms of an extension and was also told by a source that the idea of an ultimatum being discussed was “absolutely not” true. When asked about the expectation of a contract extension during Monday’s season-ending press conference Whaley said “the only thing I expect to do, as every day, is come in here and get better. I’ll leave that stuff to Russ and the ownership.” It certainly looks like the Bills’ brass made Whaley’s future in Buffalo an immediate priority this off-season.
No details or specifics of the deal have been announced to this point, but the thought is that it will coincide with the remaining four years of Ryan’s contract. Ryan was signed to a five-year $27.5 million deal by Pegula to coach the Bills, last off-season.
News of extending Whaley follows suit with last week’s statement from the Pegula’s and team president Russ Brandon, explaining that while their expectations were not met this season, “they are looking forward to working and collaborating with Doug Whaley and Rex Ryan in forming a winning future for the organization.” Adding, “the management team and coaching staff are very capable and work well together. This stable foundation is necessary to achieve long-term success in the NFL.”
Whaley and Ryan were of course asked about the statement in Monday’s presser, to which Whaley said, “I didn’t need that. I have daily dealings with Terry [Pegula]. That was something I did not need.”
More appreciative of the support, Ryan shared his thought’s on the subject by saying, “Did it feel good when he said it? Yeah, there is no question. But we are pretty confident that we have a group led by Russ, the Pegula’s, and Doug, and I think we form an outstanding team.”
Ryan planned to meet with his coaching staff on Tuesday, but would not dive into details on Monday about who he would or wouldn’t retain as his assistants. Sources have indicated that some changes are coming to Ryan’s staff though.