You don’t often see a general manager getting fired a day after the NFL Draft.
However, that’s exactly what the Buffalo Bills did when they terminated the contract of Doug Whaley on Sunday.
The Bills were 30-34 during Whaley’s tenure, but had just one winning season. Last year, Buffalo went 7-9 and extended their playoff drought to 17 painful seasons.
Therefore, it seems as though the ownership is a bit fed up.
"After a thorough review of our football operations over the past several months, Kim [Pegula] and I informed Doug this morning that we will be moving in a new direction," Bills co-owner Terry Pegula said in a statement. "We have enjoyed working with Doug. He is a good person and we want to thank him for his work and commitment to our football team. This was my decision. It was not an easy decision but I believe it's the right one for the future of the Buffalo Bills. Our search for a new general manager will begin immediately.”
That wasn’t the only massive move that the organization made, either.
They also dismissed their entire scouting staff a day after the draft, as announced by Pegula in a news conference on Sunday.
Other than merely saying that the team would be moving in a new direction, the co-owner didn’t give an exact reason for Whaley’s firing and had generally positive things to say about him as a person.
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"I don't want to discuss publicly why we made the decision, the factors," Pegula said. "Doug is a good guy. He's a smart man. But we made the decision. And the reasons remain private to us and Doug.
He added, ”There were a few tears around the building, to be honest with you. He's a good guy."
Oddly enough, the Bills' owners put Whaley in charge of finding Rex Ryan’s head coaching replacement, which was seen as a clear vote of confidence despite the lack of major on-field success.
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He ended up choosing Sean McDermott to fill the void and before news of Whaley’s firing broke, McDermott said the following after being asked about Whaley’s future with the team:
"I'm focused on this draft. Honestly. I'm going to focus on this draft and what we have in front of us going on right now with this priority free-agent market right now. I will say that Doug and his staff did a phenomenal job. I will say that.”
For a team that saw a great deal of success during the Jim Kelly era, the Bills have fallen victim to being in the same division as Tom Brady and the New England Patriots for the entirety of Brady’s Hall of Fame career.
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And, simply put, TB12 and the Patriots have owned Buffalo.
With a new head coach, new general manager on the way and a new infusion of talent heading to the team through the draft and free agency, it seems like this is yet another opportunity for the franchise to start fresh.
Unfortunately for them, Brady doesn’t intend on retiring anytime soon, however.