Plenty of questions remain regarding the new-look football operation in Buffalo. Some of those questions officially will be answered on Friday, but those answers could result in even more questions.
As Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News explains it, new G.M. Brandon Beane will control the 53-man roster, while coach Sean McDermott otherwise controls the entire football operation. McDermott, per Carucci, will have “final say.”
Carucci reports that the situation will “pretty much replicate” the structure in Kansas City, where G.M. “John Dorsey, has a significant say in the assembling of the 53-man roster, but there is no mistaking that coach Andy Reid is in charge of the entire football operation and has final say.”
Here’s the problem with that explanation. If McDermott has “final say” over the football operation, Beane won’t really control the 53-man roster. If McDermott has “final say,” then he runs the show — and necessarily has final say.
The distinction takes on some significance given that league policy permits a front-office employee under contract with another team to be hired as a G.M. only if the position entails “the authority over all personnel decisions related to the signing of free agents, the selection of players in the College Draft, trades, contract terminations, and related decisions.”
“The authority” over those various categories is another way of saying “final say.” If Beane doesn’t have it, the Panthers could have attempted to block the move.
It’s entirely possible that the Panthers opted not to create a problem. Beane has been a loyal employee for 19 years, and it’s not as if he’s taking over the Falcons, Saints, or Buccaneers. Still, the end result suggests that a guy who has never worked a game as head coach of the Bills has managed in roughly four months to persuade ownership to give him Belichickian power.
Ultimately, the only thing that matters is the ability of McDermott and Beane to work together in an effort to find the players who will help the Bills win football games. That relationship will be tested during inevitable stretches of adversity, when one may become tempted to blame the other for the inability of the team to perform the way that the fans and the owners expect.