McDermott became the public face of the franchise upon being named head coach and his imprint is all over the Bills' decisions during free agency, while Whaley and the scouting staff continued to build the draft board. Whaley effectively ceded control of the team on Jan. 2 when he admitted that he was not consulted on the firings of Rex and Rob Ryan.
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"I was told by my boss that I will no longer be working with Rex," Whaley said.
The proverbial writing was on the wall for months. Some analysts were surprised that the Bills waited until the end of the draft to fire Whaley and the rest of the scouting staff, but it was always apparent. Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio reported on April 26 that an anonymous scout noted the entire staff would be fired after the weekend ended, while the Bills provided a statement, saying they would re-evaluate their personnel decisions. It's unfortunate timing, but if Tre'Davious White and Zay Jones develop into stars, there will be a silver lining to Whaley's catastrophic administration.
Related: Bills owner insists Whaley led draft despite instant firing
Whaley is completely at fault for overseeing the Ryan era, which devolved from a ballistic, truculent approach to an outright carnival, ridden by nepotism, incoherence, and convoluted direction. Rex added his brother, Rob, as the team's assistant head coach and head of defense, rendering defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman obsolete while remaining on the staff. Under Whaley's watch, the Bills entered a game of roulette with Tyrod Taylor over his contract, after offering him an incentive-laden, "show-me" deal, then panicked when he exceeded expectations.
It's this type of outright lunacy McDermott is trying to avoid, and in choosing the new general manager, the Bills will finally close another appalling chapter.
There's been no indictation about which candidates the Bills are vetting for the general manager vacancy, but it seems entirely possible that McDermott will try to bring Panthers assistant GM Brandon Beane or director of player personnel Don Gregory aboard. It's clear that McDermott and Pegula will be wholeheartedly responsible for the next general manager, and the Bills are no longer enacting half measures to solve their veritable, longstanding playoff drought.
The Bills finished the weekend with a new crop of players, all of whom were certainly selected based off McDermott's preferences. With the final piece of the Ryan administration out of office, the Bills rest solely in McDermott and Pegula's hands, in hopes of turning the NFL's constant doormat into a viable contender for the first time in over two decades.
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