Joe B: Bills hire Beane in hopes for harmony

Posted at 8:46 PM, May 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-09 20:46:08-04

Almost a week and a half after the Buffalo Bills fired Doug Whaley as the general manager of the organization, the team found their new frontman of the front office.

The Bills announced on Tuesday evening that they've hired Brandon Beane as the 13th GM in team history, after spending nearly 20 years with the Carolina Panthers organization -- and the last two as the assistant GM.

And for the Buffalo Bills, among all other things, this is a hire that theoretically gives them everything that they want out of the position. Owners Terry and Kim Pegula identified a key problem within the organization and aimed to fix it with multiple changes over at One Bills Drive.

When they first bought the team, there was a strong argument to do exactly what the Pegulas have done this offseason: to scrub the building down in the attempt of ridding themselves of all the residue of mediocrity over the past 17 years. They let long-tenured people go behind the scenes, fired notable names, and then hired a head coach in Sean McDermott that they see as an idealistic person to be the face of a franchise.

Most importantly, the Pegulas likely wanted to rid themselves of the things that have ailed the Bills franchise over the past several years. Reports of friction, discontent, and not being on the same page arose for general manager Doug Whaley. And it wasn't just with Doug Marrone, it reportedly happened again with Rex Ryan.

All the reports of that disharmony inside the building at One Bills Drive just had to eat away at the Pegulas -- or at least one would think. The lack of communication was a big issue in those years, and it wasn't a coincidence that Terry Pegula stressed the word "communication," in what he was looking for in his next GM.

Heck, even the statement Pegula issued in the team's press release gives you that feeling. You don't have to look very far into it to figure out what was most important to them this time around.

“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."

The phrase "type of person" should not be ignored here, and neither should his now longstanding working relationship with head coach Sean McDermott. The two -- as you likely well know by now -- worked together for six years in Carolina. McDermott was the defensive coordinator, while Beane was a higher up in the front office.

The communication that the Pegulas so desire for their football team? It's there for the taking. Now, rather than having a GM hired years before a coach or a coach years before a GM, Terry and Kim Pegula have selected a management team for their organization.

That much was evident when NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported that Beane signed a contract with the Bills that matches the number of years McDermott signed with the team back in January. Rather than it being two individuals, they are instead one team -- which fits right in line with their current advertising strategy.

Theoretically, Beane and McDermott will be hand-in-hand, with a similar vision for how they want the football team to be built, and all the while knowing if they don't get the job done, then it likely means both of them -- not just one like the last Bills HC-GM pairing -- will be the ones sent packing.

There is some hesitation with Beane. Does he have the "boots on the ground" scouting experience that some others do? No, he does not. Does he come from one of the most successful front office trees in NFL history? He doesn't have that going for him either.

What Beane does have, according to the people that I've talked to, is hard-worker that built his way up from the bottom level in the Panthers organization, and one that brings a smart approach to the job. And that goes along with experience in doing all that it takes -- in bits and pieces -- to be a general manager in the NFL. It's not as though the Bills are just hiring a nobody here.

Beane is a well-respected entity in NFL circles and was among the short-list that interviewed for the San Francisco 49ers opening at GM in January. He's 40 years old and was thought of by some to be the heir apparent to Panthers 66-year-old GM Dave Gettleman.

And even though it isn't a sexy pick of a GM, to Terry and Kim Pegula, it's a safe one. It's as calculated a risk as they can take at the high profile position of general manager.

Perhaps there's an argument to be made that they're a bit of a prisoner of the moment if this hire is a direct correlation to what was endured during the Whaley regime. You have to look at it from all angles, and to not do so would be truly short-sighted.

However, the Bills have entrusted Sean McDermott with the keys to the franchise. He's provided the Pegulas with such a magnetic leadership aura in his first four months -- to the point that they basically based their Sabres GM search criteria off of the McDermott model. And in return with the Bills, they wanted to start fresh with someone that he's comfortable with, and with someone that they don't have to worry about potentially trying to undermine one another.

It's something the Bills haven't done in a long time and something that they've needed to do for the longest time. They've made legitimate changes all the way through the building, and now have to see if this is the model that will be the one to end the longest-standing playoff drought in professional sports.

There's no telling if the pairing will work, and a lot of it will be determined by the duo's ability to actually find a franchise-caliber quarterback in order to become a consistent winner in the NFL. They know the stakes, they know finding that player is important to not only winning... but to their bosses, too.

At the very least, the McDermott-Beane pairing is something different than the Bills' status quo through the start of the century. It's something fresh. It's something that was sorely needed.

Now comes just one simple premise, with an advanced methodology necessary to attain it:

Prove it.


Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia