Imagine being on the same page as someone without talking to them before hand. Seems hard to do, right? This is apparently what transpired between Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane and head coach Sean McDermott in the team’s first preseason game.
Beane had a tentative deal in place with the Los Angeles Rams for the now-former Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins ahead of the team’s game versus the Minnesota Vikings last week, but the general manager chose to keep it a secret from his head coach. Yet, interestingly, under McDermott’s watch, the Bills first four passing plays against the Vikings were dialed up for Watkins - which apparently did enough to reassure the Rams on trading for the wideout, as a deal between the two clubs was made less than 24 hours later.
“Interestingly, Beane didn’t tell McDermott about his tentative deal with the Rams before their game against Minnesota,” Peter King wrote after discussing the deal with Beane. “Imagine the Rams’ shock when, on the first four plays of the game on offense for Buffalo, Tyrod Taylor threw to Watkins. Beane wanted McDermott, in his first game as coach, not to be shackled but rather to be able to use his 90 players the way he saw fit. They didn’t discuss the chance for the trade until after the game.
Undoubtedly, the two Bills decision makers have had plenty of discussions this summer surrounding the possibility of trading Watkins. So, sure, McDermott didn’t know the timing of when a deal would go down, but he certainly must of have known that it could happen at some point, and perhaps game planned accordingly.
To be clear, general managers across all sports hold things back from their respective head coaches all the time — it would be a gross conflict of interest for a GM to prep his head coach of potential transactions each and every time before they were executed. But Beane had to be grinning from ear to ear upon seeing McDermott execute a game plan that perfectly aligned with his plans for Watkins without having even told the head coach about his intentions.
Either way, it’s pretty cool to learn that McDermott may have helped the Bills pull off one of their more interesting trades in recent memory without even knowing they had a tentative deal in place.