The Buffalo Bills fired general manager Doug Whaley along with the team’s entire scouting staff on Monday.
Bills owner Terry Pegula and head coach Sean McDermott are finally afforded the closure they needed from the Rex Ryan era and can move forward without any remnants of the previous regime.
Determining who will be a great general manager isn’t an exact science, but we’ve whittled the list down to three leading candidates for the Bills’ job:
Brandon Beane, Panthers assistant GM
McDermott will be heavily involved in the search for the new general manager and it’s likely he’ll try to recruit candidates that he’s already familiar with. Beane was linked to the Bills by Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports and is among the most qualified options on the market. The 39-year-old was named as the Panthers’ assistant general manager in 2005, previously working as the team’s director of football operations for seven seasons. Beane also served as the Panthers’ interim GM during the 2012 season and was interviewed by the San Francisco 49ers for their general manager role in January.
Boasting a wealth of experience and a strong relationship with McDermott, Beane appears to be the favorite for the job, although the Bills will likely vet several candidates before making a decision.
Don Gregory, Panthers director of player personnel
Like Beane, Gregory also has strong ties to McDermott stemming from their working relationship while with the Panthers. Gregory is also rumored to be in the mix for the Bills’ job, according to La Canfora.
Gregory was promoted to director of player personnel in May 2016, previously working as the Panthers’ director of college scouting since June 2006. The veteran talent scout received his first job in the NFL with the Chargers organization in 1995 and could provide the Bills with the much-needed stability they desperately crave.
Nick Caserio, Patriots director of player personnel
If you can’t beat them, join them, and if that doesn’t work, hire them. This modified adage would work well in Caserio’s favor with numerous teams lining up to get an insight on what works for the Patriots, as they look to win their third Super Bowl in four seasons next winter.
Caserio is the rare candidate that has worked both as a coach and a scout. The 41-year-old worked as an offensive coaching assistant for the Patriots in 2002 and served as their wide receivers coach in 2007, working directly with Randy Moss and Wes Welker. Caserio also rose from a personal assistant in 2001, to area scout, then served as director of player personnel from 2004-06 and resumed his role from 2008 onward after working with the wide receivers.
The NFL has often been dubbed a “copycat league” and Titans general manager Jon Robinson, Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff, and Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome have all worked under Bill Belichick in some capacity. Buffalo wouldn’t be the first organization to go deep inside New England’s payroll in order to bolster its own fortunes.
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