Buffalo Bills reward Beane, McDermott with 2-year contract extensions

By JOHN WAWROW AP Sports Writer

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — The Buffalo Bills locked up their brain trust tandem of general manager Brandon Beane and coach Sean McDermott through the 2027 season after signing the duo to two-year contract extensions on Friday.

The timing of the deals represents a reward while also emphasizing the long-term faith of co-owner Terry Pegula in the pair, who are now on their third respective contracts with the team since signing extensions in 2020.

Norwood native Brandon Beane is general manager of the Buffalo Bills. (File)

Beane, at 46, a Stanly County native, and McDermott, 49, have transformed what had been a floundering franchise upon their arrival in 2017 into a consistent playoff contender.

In that time, the Bills went from enduring a 17-year playoff drought, which was the longest active streak in North America’s four professional major sports, to qualifying for the postseason in five of the past six years. The run of success began with the team ending the drought in 2017, and now includes a four-year playoff run in which the Bills are three-time defending AFC East champions.

McDermott, who was hired in January 2017 following Rex Ryan’s dismissal, is credited with instilling a winning culture built around a trusted group of leaders headed by the safety tandem of Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer.

He was also praised for helping navigate the team through a series of adversity. The Bills finished second in the AFC at 13-3 in a season where safety Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest and was resuscitated on the field during a game at Cincinnati on Jan. 2. There also were two schedule disruptions because of snowstorms.

With a 62-35 record, McDermott ranks third on the franchise regular-season win list behind Marv Levy (123) and Lou Saban (70).

The only knock on McDermott has been how each of the past two Bills seasons have ended.

Buffalo came out flat in a 27-10 loss to Cincinnati in the divisional round last season. Two years ago, the Bills squandered a three-point lead in the final 13 seconds of regulation in a 42-26 overtime loss to Kansas City in the divisional round.

McDermott is taking on extra responsibilities in overseeing the defense this year after the team abruptly announced in February that coordinator Leslie Frazier is taking the year off from coaching.

Beane, who was hired in May 2017 after Doug Whaley’s dismissal, is credited for purging Buffalo’s over-priced and under-producing roster by rebuilding the Bills through the draft and free agency.

His most influential decision was using a stockpile of draft picks to eventually trade up in the 2018 draft order and select quarterback Josh Allen with the seventh pick.

Of the five quarterbacks selected in the first round of the 2018 draft, Allen and Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson are the remaining two still on the teams that selected them.

The relationship between Beane and McDermott dates to the Carolina Panthers in 2011. Beane was the Panthers director of football operations at the time, when McDermott was hired to become the team’s defensive coordinator.

Their tenure in Buffalo together marks a rare period of stability for a franchise that from 2001-2016 featured six head coaches (not including two interim promotions) and five GMs.

Beane and McDermott are prepared to become the longest-serving GM-coach tandem in franchise history entering their seventh season together. That will surpass the six-plus seasons GM Bill Polian and Levy — both Pro Football Hall of Famers — worked together in Buffalo from 1986 to 1992.

At 11-plus seasons, Levy is the team’s longest-serving coach. Bob Lustig ranks as the Bills’ longest-serving GM, having held the job from 1967-78.

McDermott broke into the NFL ranks as a member of Andy Reid’s staff with the 1999 Philadelphia Eagles. Beane’s NFL career started as a member of the Panthers communications department in 1998.