Rex Ryan was fired as the Bills’ head coach last season, while the Patriots won another Super Bowl. One of the key contributors in New England was former Bills receiver Chris Hogan. And Ryan hated to see that.
Ryan, now with ESPN, told his colleague Adam Schefter that he was beside himself when the Bills didn’t keep Hogan in free agency, and he signed with the Patriots instead.
“This one drives me crazy because that was the one player I definitely did not want to lose when I was at Buffalo,” Ryan said, via PatsPulpit.com. “Not only was he really our best receiver that year, remember, he was third, I think, in the league in yards per reception, he averaged over 17 yards a catch, so that was impressive, but he was also our best special teams player. This kid’s a great football player, a great competitor, and a great athlete. You know, obviously, he was a multi-sport athlete in college and you don’t want to lose these guys.”
Ryan said he assumed then-Bills General Manager Doug Whaley would put a second-round tender on Hogan as a restricted free agent, which would have meant any team signing Hogan to an offer sheet would have had to send the Bills a second-round draft pick. The Bills didn’t do that, and didn’t match the three-year, $12 million offer the Patriots made Hogan. Ryan said that move is a perfect example of how Patriots coach and G.M. Bill Belichick outsmarts the rest of the league.
“Let’s just say I wasn’t real happy,” Ryan said. “You know at first, here’s what happened, this is how uninformed I was at that time. I’m thinking, okay, well we get a second round pick. So I was disappointed, but I’m like, anyway we’ll get a second round pick so that’s pretty cool. No, the tender wasn’t high enough. So that’s when I left the office, was not happy. Let’s just put it that way. Then the fact that you gotta go against the guy. That was, but that’s it. That’s what [Belichick] does. He’ll make a team worse and make his own team better. That’s his brilliant — that’s a guy who runs a whole show, he runs the entire program, whether it’s the draft, and with the draft, trades, free agents, whatever, and obviously the guy knows football better than anybody out there and that’s why I think he takes advantage of running his own show.”
If Ryan were running the show, Hogan never would have left Buffalo.