On Sunday morning, the day after the conclusion of the 2017 NFL Draft and a few hours after the team officially announced the firing of general manager Doug Whaley and the scouting staff, Buffalo Bills owner Terry Pegula went behind the podium to answer questions about the decision. Here’s what Pegula had to say:
Why did they choose this timing?
The Pegulas chose to fire Whaley and the scouts now, instead of in January when they were replacing the coaching staff, because they wanted to make their decision coincide with the scouting calendar.
For NFL coaches, hirings and firings happen at the end of the regular season and playoffs, when their work takes a break. But scouting staffs continue working through the Draft at the end of April. It’s customary to make personnel moves for that department after the draft ends.
Who got fired, and who is keeping their job?
This was a complete overhaul of the scouting staff. Whaley, Director of Player Personnel Jim Monos, and Director of College Scouting Kelvin Fisher are all released from their contracts as part of this decision.
Senior VP of Football Administration Jim Overdorf is still being retained on his contract for the time being, but Pegula made it clear that Overdorf’s ultimate status will be determined by the new GM.
Why did they choose the firing?
Pegula didn’t want to publicly discuss the reasons for the firing, which he said was a joint decision between Kim and himself. He mentioned that the ownership went through a post-draft process and came to the decision as part of the process.
He did, however, toss out the “we didn’t hire him” excuse for why Whaley was on the outs.
Who is running the search?
Terry and Kim Pegula plan to be making the hire, using “every resource inside and outside the organization.” They did say that they would ask new coach Sean McDermott questions during the process.
Who handles personnel decisions in the meantime?
The owners will be managing personnel, and talking to McDermott to fill in the blanks on questions they have.
What is the power structure they envision?
Pegula stressed that his preferred organization was a collaborative one:
I like collaborative organizations so the power structure I envision when we hire a new GM is someone who will work within the organization and make a team that makes us better.
He did, however, mention that there would be a separation of powers. McDermott is the head coach, and the new general manager would handle all of the typical GM duties.