The Buffalo Bills' search for a new coach appears to be nearing its end, with Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott emerging as the likely choice, The News learned Tuesday night.
The Bills could finalize an agreement with McDermott within the next day or so.
McDermott spent Tuesday being interviewed by the San Francisco 49ers, but apparently was as impressed with Bills owners Terry and Kim Pegula as they were with him during dinner and a meeting last week at the Pegulas' home in Boca Raton, Fla.
McDermott and the Pegulas are meeting again Wednesday in Boca Raton.
If a contract can be worked out, McDermott could be introduced to the media by Friday.
Anthony Lynn, the Bills' interim head coach, was also considered a top candidate. He has interviewed with multiple teams, including a visit with the San Diego Chargers Tuesday.
In all, the Bills have interviewed four candidates, including Arizona Cardinals offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin and Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Kris Richard. They were expected to interview about five prospective head coaches, but no additional interviews were scheduled as of Tuesday.
In another development on the Bills' head-coaching front, Terry Pegula has yet to determine what to do about control of the 53-man roster, which has belonged to General Manager Doug Whaley. If it is something a candidate Pegula wants to hire makes a condition of employment, the owner might very well transfer that authority while Whaley remains in his role of overseeing the scouting staff.
Another solution would be for McDermott and Whaley to equally share final say over the 53-man roster, with McDermott having the additional responsibility of determining which 47 players are in uniform on game play and on setting the starting lineup.
So far, one of the noticeable trends of the Bills' coaching search is the team's willingness to shift from the base 3-4 defensive scheme that previous coach Rex Ryan employed the past two seasons to predominantly a 4-3 look.
McDermott, 42, has favored the 4-3 during his six seasons as the Panthers' defensive coordinator and his two previous seasons working in the same capacity with the Philadelphia Eagles. Richard has guided a 4-3 scheme in Seattle, Goodwin comes from a team that has employed the 4-3 and it is reported that Lynn might make former Jacksonville coach Gus Bradley, who ran the 4-3 with the Jaguars and as defensive coordinator with the Seahawks, as his DC.
McDermott spent a total of 10 seasons as an assistant coach with the Eagles after two seasons (1999-2000) as a scouting administrative coordinator.
Additionally, McDermott is believed to have a strong tie with former San Diego coach Mike McCoy, and would hire him as his offensive coordinator.