Lucky 13 is now officially Brandon Beane. Since he’s become the newly minted Bills GM, I wanted to throw a few questions out about what comes next. The Bills have a press conference set up for Friday at 10:30 a.m., but in the interim, here’s where I have some questions:
Question 1: Where Does the Power Lie Brother?
First, if Buffalo could get a “Mean Gene” to set up McDermott or Beane (McBeane, I’ve done it!) I’d be forever grateful. Second and more seriously, the question of power and decisionmaking will undoubtedly be on the agenda for the press conference. As Vic Carucci denotes below, it appears that Beane will have 53 man roster control, but the system will be set up ala Andy Reid and John Dorsey in Kansas City:
If that is the case (cue Tim Graham “as expected”) I’m absolutely fine with it. You are all well aware of my love of Big Red in KC. Having a system in place where the head coach has the final say and the GM has say over the 53 isn’t confusing to me as it is my tag partner #onhere Joe. In any situation, someone is going to be the one with the hammer in a group setting. Whether or not they swing that hammer all the time is completely up to them and the group dynamic.
(I’m on a hammer trip. American Gods’ on the brain. Please be patient)
Question 2: Will there be a shotgun wedding vibe compared to previous staffs?
Beane and McDermott worked together for six years. This isn’t going to be a shotgun marriage like it was with Marrone and Rex to Doug Whaley. And as much as the pendulum is swinging towards “Doug Whaley couldn’t communicate” let’s not mistake malaprops for inability to talk. Marrone and Ryan were not and should not post-facto be exculpated from their roles in said communication.
If anything, looking at the roster they both walk in with a clean slate. The bigger contracts are players neither McDermott nor Beane brought to the club. Going into next year, they have two first round picks and around 37 million in cap space, which isn’t the 100 million say San Francisco was rolling with but also isn’t chump change. Because of the relationship of the two, it will be interesting to see how they operate next year in free agency and the draft, particularly if they keep their prior team’s affinity for making sure their front four is always stocked with “hogmollies”.
To continue my pro wrestling vibe, McDermott and Beane are Ric Flair and Arn Anderson. Sure, Ric could make all the decisions, but he’s gonna let Arn have his back, and they’re both gonna bask in the glory of any successes the team has. BASK I SAY.
Question 3: Who’s joining the Party?
Because of the rules regarding movement of staff and contracts and such – a lot of this is going to be nebulous until the announcements are made. But, it still begs the question – will the Panthers allow any of their low-to-middle level staff depart with Beane? When McDermott was hired, it was alleged that one of his assistants would come with him to be his defensive coordinator. That did not happen – and one of the rumored candidates in fact became their defensive coordinator himself – Steve Wilks.
So given that, who will Beane want to bring into the fold? Given his extensive time with the Panthers – there may be some lower level folks that jump to western New York. However, per local writer Joseph Person, don’t expect other bigger players to move on. From his article:
And as Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman said Wednesday: “All our guys are under contract.”
It’s possible Beane could look to bring some lower-level members of the front office with him to Buffalo. But Gettleman – who had a long career as an evaluator before coming to Carolina in 2013 – isn’t going to let seasoned scouts walk out the door.
Will he consider someone like a Scot McCloughan? With Beane’s mentors being Marty Hurney and Dave Gettleman, there may be some scouts that are good fits outside of the Panthers org. Additionally, McDermott may request a few of Andy Reid’s lower level guys and move them up.
Personally, I’m very intrigued as to who will be the directors of scouting, pro personnel and player personnel, as well as whomever they get as a national scout. I’d be lying to you if I rattled off regional scouts I thought that were a fit – but experience scouting for the west coast offense and what the Panthers/Seahawks/Falcons look for on defense would be essential.
Question 4: BLESTO no mo’?
Will the Bills still maintain their membership to the national scouting organization BLESTO? As Tim Graham pointed out in his scathing article this winter, while the Bills have been a part of the organization, the prior administration erred on the side of scouting underclassmen only after they declared. That put them at a determined disadvantage going into the off-season. The Panthers have been members of BLESTO as well in that time, and as you look through their roster, they have underclassmen as well as graduates galore. As part of Beane’s rebuilding process of the razed office, there should also be a creation of a policy to ensure such situations do not occur.
Question 5: Who pulls the purse-strings?
I’m a big fan of the theory that whomever controls the money, controls the team. Currently that is Jim Overdorf, master of coin and bane of Joe’s existence. With a new regime, and a gm that has cap experience in his resume, it may behoove McBeane to remove Overdorf and put their stamp on the cap/contracts side of the house. If you’re going to burn it down, but it to the studs, man.
To me that also ties to the analytics side of the house. If the Bills are going to fold analytics into their player evaluation as well, making sure it’s more than the Russ Brandon-special “robust” should also tie to the cap and outlay of cash.
As much as I tend to harp on how much the Bills have in future years to spend, the fact that the Colts have one of the Biggest QB deals on the market and are 20 million ahead (65 million +) of the Bills is a sign how out of whack the structure of their contracts have gotten. No bueno for Mr. Overdorf.
*-does not allow for nuance. We’ll still chat though.