The Beane Counter

Buffalo Bills

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) — He’s maneuvered through two seasons in Buffalo, ironing out a messy salary cap situation and is as close to solving the Bills quarterback mystery as we’ve seen in decades.

Brandon Beane, from day one, has put an emphasis on long-term success and not sacrificing the future for a quick payoff. Beane stresses three main pillars to being a successful GM. It all starts with finding the right head coach and quarterback.

“The two most important hires in my mind that a GM is responsible for is that you can’t miss on, you have to have a really good coach. Sean was obviously here — I believe in him or I wouldn’t have made this move up here — and secondly, a franchise quarterback. We feel like we made the moves necessary to get Josh(Allen) and we hope that’s our guy moving forward,” Beane said.

The third part of the equation and equally important, fixing the salary cap situation.

“I told them(ownership) specifically I think it’s going to take two to three years to fix this cap. Part of it is you have to get to know the players, those guys that have higher cap numbers, which ones you want to keep and renegotiate, and I think it took two years to get that, it didn’t go into a third.”

The Bills added 18 players through free agency this offseason. Beane’s focus was adding talent without breaking the bank.

“We just got out of cap jail, or whatever you want to call it. You don’t want to turn around and start heading there. Because you can get there fast trying to chase things,” Beane added.

“I’m not going to sit here and tell you we signed every first target at the positions we signed… the goal was, ‘Let’s try and fill as many of these positions as we can with guys that we think fit what we do, and put a price. This is probably where we’re going to have to go in it. And this is our walk-away.’

Quarterback salaries around the league have continued to skyrocket. In recent years, teams have put an emphasis on building and spending when they have a QB still on a rookie contract.

Spending less on a quality young quarterback gives teams the ability to splurge in other areas through free agency. The Bills could be a prime candidate for such an approach in the near future.

“Yeah, I mean, it definitely makes sense if your team is there and you’re close to doing it to try and maybe make some moves, especially seeing where some of these quarterback numbers are going because, you know, once you make that investment, some of these guys are making $30-35 million a year, that you are going to have to sacrifice some other positions.”

Beane added that the Bills won’t force that blueprint.

“You know, we still have to build it the right way and that’s what we’re trying to do through the draft, so we’re not one player away or anything like that. I don’t know that you ever are one player away.”

The Bills have put a priority on keeping their own players. The 2017 draft class is quickly approaching free agency and the team will certainly need to stash some money away if they would like to eventually re-sign Tre’Davious White, Matt Milano, and Dion Dawkins to longterm contracts.

“That’s part of the fiscal responsibility is knowing what we have down the horizon.”

Beane points to re-signing Jerry Hughes as an example of how they want to do things.

“We want to reward the guys that we think do it the right way, our way, and can show others. So hopefully guys in this locker room say, all right, there’s a guy that Brandon and Sean and the Pegula’s paid. Let’s watch him. We want to continue to do that, not chase from the outside but reward the guys here that earned the right or earned that pay day.”

Beane has positioned the Bills to stroll into the next several off-seasons with wiggle room under the cap. Making it count is the next crucial step for Beane and company.

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