The decision wasn't exactly shocking. Anyone paying the least amount of attention to the Bills over the past several months knew GM Doug Whaley's job was in jeopardy. His dismissal appeared inevitable when new coach Sean McDermott assumed command over the NFL Draft.
Whaley was sent on his way Sunday morning in what was the latest sign that Bills owners Terry and Kim Pegula aren't messing around with their two professional sports franchises. According to our Vic Carucci, the entire Bills scouting staff also is expected to be dismissed. The decision came just more than a week after they fired Sabres GM Tim Murray and coach Dan Bylsma.
Both moves were made with hopes of bringing credibility to two dysfunctional franchises, which have become national embarrassments. The Bills haven't made the playoffs for 17 straight seasons, including two full years under the Pegulas. The Sabres have missed the postseason for the six straight seasons under them.
Terry Pegula will meet the media Sunday morning for the second time in less than two weeks after yet another house cleaning. Pegula is shelling out at least $35 million, and likely considerably more, to people who no longer work for him. Former Bills' coach Rex Ryan and Bylsma's remaining salaries account for $25.5 million. He fired two GMs less than a year after giving them multiyear contract extensions.
In case you haven't noticed, money doesn't solve all problems.
The Pegulas can continue firing people, and paying them, but they're not going to inspire confidence unless they start hiring the right people to replace them. It starts at the top with ownership. It's not simple addition by subtraction. They attempted to fill other positions in the past and watched them turn into disasters.
See: Ryan, Rex.
McDermott hasn't been a head coach in the NFL, so the jury remains out on his ability to run a team. He was granted unprecedented power for any coach in franchise history, let alone one with no head-coaching experience, when he took over personnel decisions going into the draft.
Some would view him as a welcome change, but he hasn't earned the benefit of the doubt. Why? Because the people who hired him have little credibility when it comes to making wise decisions with their franchises. The Pegulas' mistakes date back to when they first purchased the Sabres and retained general manager Darcy Regier.
Whaley should have been gone, too, shortly after they arrived. He made numerous blunders in the draft and other personnel. He had a knack for plucking good players off the street, but he missed on several major decisions. Once viewed as a bright up-and-coming executive, he'll leave as a failure.
Remember, he was part of the regime and had a big say in quarterback EJ Manuel being selected in the first round. He compounded that mistake by trading two first-round draft picks for the right to draft Sammy Watkins in a class rich with receivers. He stubbornly retained Manuel despite obvious flaws, overpaid free agents and failed to build a playoff-caliber roster.
Whaley fell out of favor under the Pegulas when he botched the postseason news conference in January. It became clear that he had little voice in the organization, wasn't respected in the front office and was on his way out the door. Scouts joined him after years of failed drafts.
If there was any surprise about Whaley's firing, it's that he lasted longer than Murray. Rather than show Whaley the door immediately after the season, they kept him around to get them through the draft. As it turned out, he had little or no say in the players they picked.
Now ownership is on the clock. It's time to pick someone to replace him. If you're a Bills' fan, you're hoping McDermott has the answer.