Brandon Beane has only been the Buffalo Bills GM for a few days now, but it’s fair to wonder what his jobs entailed with the Panthers over the past 19 years.
He’s not a life-long scout. He’s not only a salary-cap manager. In fact, his immense versatility is probably the fundamental reason — along with his familiarity with Sean McDermott — why the Pegulas hired him.
Joseph Person, Panthers beat writer for The Charlotte Observer, wrote a detailed piece on Beane’s time with the Panthers organization.
(hat tip to ESPN Rochester’s Mike Danger for the find.)
To a get a better understanding of what makes up Beane’s multi-faceted skill set, let’s closely examine Person’s article.
Beane as an intern:
“He went to UNC-Wilmington with the idea of going into education. But before becoming Mr. Beane, high school coach and teacher, Beane took an internship with the Panthers in 1998 and never left – until Tuesday.
Beane’s training camp internship in the public relations department.”
Sounds somewhat typical, at least from the start. He secured an internship during his time in college. Hey, anyway to get your foot in the door, right?
Beane in Football Operations department during Marty Hurney era:
“Beane’s training camp internship in the public relations department led to a full-time position in football operations, where Beane’s duties included picking players up at the airport, setting up travel arrangements and anything asked of him.
Former GM Marty Hurney promoted Beane to football operations director in 2008.”
He made the jump from public relations intern to full-time employee in the football operations department and climbed the ladder.
Apparently, “Football Operations” is handles more “administrative” duties than “evaluation” responsibilities in the NFL. However, the Panthers website did note this about his time with Football Ops. “He has worked closely with the football operations staff on the negotiation of player contracts, developing budgets and CBA compliance.”
Beane as interim GM in 2012
“Four years later, Beane took over as interim GM for the final 10 games after Hurney resigned. The Panthers went 6-4 while Beane held the post. More important than the record, Beane showed a knack for evaluating talent by plucking edge rusher Mario Addison from Washington’s practice squad and signing kicker Graham Gano.
Addison re-signed with the Panthers on a three-year, $22.5 million deal this offseason after leading the team in sacks in 2016. Gano has made 83 percent of his field goals in five seasons in Charlotte, but struggled last year and will compete with rookie Harrison Butker at training camp.”
This is the most intriguing revelation in Person’s article. It would’ve been easy for Beane, then in his mid-30s, to coast during the final 10 games of the 2012 campaign. He didn’t. And he made a few impressive roster decisions. Addison and Gano are two of the players in which Beane can outright claim as “his guys,” additions that came during his stint as interim GM after Hurney was fired and before current Panthers GM Dave Gettleman was hired.
Beane as Dir. of Football Ops & Assistant GM in Dave Gettleman era
“Gettleman would watch video with Beane long past bankers’ hours, evaluate prospects with him and sit next to him in the press box on Sundays, grooming Beane to someday become an NFL general manager. Beane had experience managing the salary cap, but hadn’t done a ton of scouting early in his career. But he started going on the road to scout college games when he was interim GM, a practice he continued after Gettleman was hired (Beane was the only in-house candidate to interview).
Beane further honed his scouting chops under Gettleman, whose affinity for film-study is as well known as his love of minivans and bagels.
Gettleman and Beane would watch video of every play from every Panthers game, as well as most of the plays of free agents Carolina was considering. Gettleman says Beane was an eager film critic.”
Quite clearly, these specific anecdotes are crucial when assessing Beane’s qualifications to be a GM in the NFL. Experience scouting college players and analyzing NFL players is paramount to ultimately succeeding as a GM. Clearly, since Gettleman was hired in 2013, Beane put in the time to learn the player-evaluation side.
This all-encompassing quote from Gettleman included in Person’s article is telling:
“I spent a lot of time with him watching film and teaching and doing those kind of things. And Brandon’s a sponge. He really listens. He’s very diligent. He works at it. The only way you’re going to improve your evaluation skills is just grind tape. ... It was his willingness to listen and learn that really accelerated his progress in terms of becoming a general manager.”