It didn’t take long for the Buffalo Bills to fill their general manager vacancy. A mere nine days after Doug Whaley’s dismissal the team announced the hiring of Panthers Assistant GM Brandon Beane as the 13th general manager in franchise history.
“During our search for a new General Manager, Brandon stood out to Kim and I as he embodies the type of leader and type of person we want in our organization,” team owner Terry Pegula said of the hire. “Brandon has excelled in a variety of roles for a Panthers team that has consistently competed at a high-level in this league. We feel his vast understanding and experience in many facets of football operations will be invaluable to our club moving forward.
“We also believe his vision for the Buffalo Bills combined with his detailed approach will help build a foundation for sustained success. We are pleased to welcome Brandon and his family to Buffalo.”
Beane, 39, has been part of the Carolina Panthers organization for all 19 years of his career. After graduating from the University of North Carolina Wilmington in 1998, he joined the team’s staff in a media relations role before working his way up the totem pole to his most recent role as assistant GM in 2015. Prior to holding that title, Beane spent seven seasons as the team’s director of football operations and he even served as interim general manager after Carolina fired former GM Marty Hurney just six games into the 2012 season. The Panthers went 6-4 under his control.
As Pegula eluded to, Beane has worn many hats throughout his nearly two-decade tenure with the Panthers. He apparently helped construct Carolina’s past six draft boards, has evaluated professional and collegiate players and worked closely with the football operations staff on the negotiation of player contracts – all responsibilities that are an integral part of any general manager job.
As far back as March, CBS Sports’ NFL insider, Jason LaCanfora reported that Whaley’s firing was on the horizon, noting that Buffalo could look inside the Panthers front office for a potential replacement. So while the Pegula’s will reference Beane’s “versatility” – there’s one of Sean McDermott’s buzz words – as the reason they were so drawn to him as a candidate, it’s not a coincidence that Beane is following McDermott to Buffalo, after the duo spent the last six years together in Carolina.
This hire is less about Beane’s qualifications and more about front office cohesion.
That’s not to say Beane isn’t qualified for the job. He’s had a long, established career inside an NFL front office. He has valuable experience scouting talent, building a roster and managing the salary cap. However, at the end of the day, Beane’s selection – like everything else inside the Bills organization lately – is an extension of McDermott.
Kim and Terry Pegula are still pretty new to this whole “owning and NFL team” thing. Upon purchasing the Bills in 2014 they developed a relationship with Whaley and put their trust in him, particularly in regards to football decisions. Now, they’ve become so overwhelmingly impressed with McDermott’s philosophy, his vision for the team, that they’ve shifted that trust to him.
It’s why Whaley is gone, and why they’ve instead brought in a GM who can work in lockstep with McDermott. A man who understands his philosophy, and is on the same page. It’s why, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Beane’s contract is the same length (five years) as McDermott’s. They’re tied together, and unlike how Whaley survived after Doug Marrone left, and at least temporarily after Rex Ryan was fired, if McDermott fails Beane won’t be so lucky.
Again, Beane’s hire is about cohesion and it’s the right one.
Following the traditional general manager, head coach structure has yielded nothing in terms of postseason success over the last 17 seasons. In today’s NFL cohesiveness is vital to the head coach, general manager union. You’ll find it in the front offices of the NFL’s most successful franchises, and collectively, Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane can make the Bills great again.
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