Doug Whaley Fired by Bills, Owner Terry Pegula Releases Statement

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistApril 30, 2017

ORCHARD PARK, NY - NOVEMBER 09:  Buffalo Bills General Manager Doug Whaley watches the Buffalo Bills and the Kansas City Chiefs warm up on the sidelines before the first half at Ralph Wilson Stadium on November 9, 2014 in Orchard Park, New York.  (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

The Buffalo Bills are making a change at general manager after firing Doug Whaley on Sunday following the 2017 NFL draft.

The Bills provided a statement from owner Terry Pegula:

Buffalo Bills @buffalobills

Statement from Bills Owner Terry Pegula. https://t.co/k6WwmuyM3L

Howard WGR @hsimon62

Pegula: I have enjoyed working with Doug. He's a very good person. this was not an easy decision

Howard WGR @hsimon62

this decision was made by Terry and Kim. he said they look fwd to hiring their 1st gm of Bills

Howard WGR @hsimon62

decision made now and not in january bc this is end of the scouting season

Howard WGR @hsimon62

on power structure: I like collaberative organizations. envisions GM who will work with owners and head coach

Sal Maiorana @salmaiorana

Pegula: “Sean's the head coach. When we hire a new GM, we’ll talk about, obviously his obligations and duties The GM will be the GM."

Chris Brown @ChrisBrownBills

Pegula- Kim and I will handle the personnel duties w/Bills until a new GM is found. #Bills

Chris Brown @ChrisBrownBills

Pegula- I own the team so the fans have to believe in us as owners. We're going to make the best decisions we can. #Bills

The move is not a surprise. Jerry Sullivan of the Buffalo News reported March 25 that Bills ownership "conferred unprecedented control" of the team to new head coach Sean McDermott.

"Whaley has become a mute, emasculated figure," Sullivan wrote. "He's not allowed to speak for the organization anymore—even on the rare occasions where they used to trust him. The latest indignity is his exclusion from next month's predraft media luncheon."

Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reported "McDermott has growing cache with ownership and that team could be bringing in vice presidents and/or personnel figures with ties to the coach in the near future." Following Whaley's firing, NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reported that Brandon Beane and Don Gregory of the Carolina Panthers could be targeted to replace Whaley. Rapoport added that his "understanding is [Pegula] will decide if the new GM has final say as he goes thru search. Could dictate who gets blocked."

Whaley has been with the Bills since 2010 when he took over as director of pro personnel and oversaw draft classes that added Marcell Dareus, Stephon Gilmore and Cordy Glenn. He was promoted to general manager in May 2013 after Buddy Nix stepped down.

Things started out well for Whaley as the Bills posted a 9-7 record in 2014, their first winning season since 2004. Doug Marrone, who coached the Bills in 2013 and '14, opted out of his contract after that season when Ralph Wilson sold the team to Terry and Kim Pegula.

Whaley was given a multiyear contract extension in January 2016 despite the Bills' 8-8 record the previous year.

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With the Bills' new ownership duo still trying to put their personal stamp on the franchise, Whaley finds himself as the odd man out. Still, the timing of his dismissal was unusual.


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