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Names of Bills’ assistant general manager candidates have been reported

Execs with the Eagles/Steelers, 49ers, and Falcons were on the list for the Bills

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Matt Warren is Associate Director of NFL coverage for SB Nation and previously covered the Bills for Buffalo Rumblings for more than a decade.

Earlier this week, the Buffalo Bills announced a new assistant general manager and other promotions within their front office. During a press conference following the official press release naming Brian Gaine as the new top lieutenant, general manager Brandon Beane said they interviewed two internal candidates, two external candidates, and were blocked from interviewing one more external candidates. Thanks to some sleuthing at The Athletic, we have the full list of names now.

We already knew Gaine and Terrence Gray competed for the promotion within the Bills’ organization. Ultimately, Gaine was named assistant general manager and has previous experience as an assistant general manager (2012-2013 with Miami Dolphins) and general manager (2018-2019 with Houston Texans). Gray was promoted to the number 3 spot as director of player personnel and his trajectory is still on the upswing. Both joined the Bills’ organization in 2017 after the hiring of Beane as GM.

The two external candidates who interviewed were Brandon Hunt of the Pittsburgh Steelers/Philadelphia Eagles and Ran Carthon of the San Francisco 49ers.

Hunt doesn’t have any direct connections to the Bills’ front office that I could find, but he spent the last 13 years with the Pittsburgh Steelers as their pro scouting director. He was passed over for a promotion when Kevin Colbert retired, so he left to join the Eagles in late May. The vast majority of his experience has come within the pro side of the game, and Buffalo wanted more college scouting experience.

Carthon is a former NFL player for the Indianapolis Colts and Detroit Lions. He then moved into the scouting ranks in 2008 with the Atlanta Falcons. He was the Rams’ director of player personnel when several current Bills coaches were with that organization in the early to mid-2010s before spending the last five years with the 49ers as their director of pro personnel. Each organization uses titles a little differently, but it’s safe to say Carthon didn’t have a lot of college scouting experience.

It was reported late Tuesday night and confirmed by The Athletic that the Bills were blocked from interviewing Falcons’ vice president of player personnel Kyle Smith. Smith had some offseason work as an NFL player, but never made a team’s roster or practice squad. He joined the Washington front office in 2010, working up from scouting intern to vice president of player personnel. He grew up in Buffalo, to boot, graduating from St. Francis in Hamburg in the early 2000s while his dad was a scout for the Bills. He has college scouting and pro scouting experience and would seem like a great fit in Western New York. As the second-in-command in Atlanta, though not called “assistant general manager,” the Falcons were able to block the interview for a lateral move and chose to do so. Again, teams use different titles for the same job sometimes and it can vary.

The Bills lost two of their top three front-office folks over the last two years. First, Dan Morgan left to become the assistant general manager of the Carolina Panthers. Then assistant general manager Joe Schoen became the New York Giants’ general manager this offseason. Just like the coaching staff, the Bills have chosen to hire from outside the organization while also promoting from within to blend new and old ideas in the front office.

(Note: The Athletic subscription is the best bang for the buck there is out there, especially for Bills fans, and you should immediately go subscribe. I receive nothing for this endorsement.)