BBD Editor: Dan Hope
Buddy Nix announced his resignation Monday after more than three years as general manager of the Buffalo Bills.
The 73-year-old Nix will remain with the Bills in a special assistant role, according to the team’s official Twitter account.
“I’ve made this decision to step away from the General Manager’s position because I feel it is the right time,” Nix said in a team statement according to the team’s official website. “By the ‘right time’ I mean I think we have a good young roster, an excellent head coach with a good staff, and it’s time to let someone else handle these responsibilities and move forward together.”
Nix’s decision to step down means the Bills will have an almost entirely new brain trust in place from last season. They will now have a new general manager in addition to a new coach (Doug Marrone) and new team president (Russ Brandon), although Brandon was already the Bills’ CEO before being promoted in January.
The Bills have not yet named Nix’s successor as general manager, but that is widely expected to be assistant general manager Doug Whaley. The Bills signed Whaley to a contract extension in February, which secured his status as the team’s heir apparent to Nix’s role.
Brandon said the Bills “have a plan and (they) will execute that plan” for hiring a new general manager, according to the team’s official Twitter account. That is another sign pointing to Whaley’s hire, possibly as soon as Tuesday.
Nix’s final weeks as general manager did not end quietly. The decision to draft Florida State quarterback E.J. Manuel with their first-round pick in April’s NFL Draft, Nix’s final draft in charge, will have major implications on the team’s success over the next few years. While Nix took himself out of the position at risk should the Manuel selection be a bust, whoever was calling the shots at the time believed Manuel could be the franchise quarterback the Bills need.
While Nix was still in charge, the timing of this move indicates that Whaley may have already been calling the shots during this year’s draft. Regardless of whether that is true, Whaley is likely to take responsibility for the success or failure of the Bills’ ambitious 2013 draft class should he take over the general manager’s role.
Nix’s tenure in Buffalo has been met with mixed reviews. The Bills’ first three drafts under his management have yielded mixed results thus far, but all three first-round picks from 2010-2012 (running back C.J. Spiller, defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, cornerback Stephon Gilmore) have had promising beginnings to their careers.
Nix’s worst decision as GM, however, was re-signing quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick to a six-year, $59 million contract extension in October 2011. Fitzpatrick failed to play up to expectations last season, and was released in March.
Going forward, this move should not result in any drastic differences for the Bills. Whaley has been the Bills’ assistant GM since February 2010, while Nix will remain involved with the team’s front office.
How would you rate Buddy Nix’s performance as GM over the past three years? Let us know in the comments what you think about Nix’s tenure, his best and worst decisions and/or how this move could affect the direction of the franchise.