As expected, after a Monday report indicated that Rex Ryan would be bringing Dennis Thurman to Buffalo as his defensive coordinator, the Bills have formally parted ways with incumbent DC Jim Schwartz, releasing him from his contract, the team announced today in a press release.
“I have the utmost respect for Jim and what he has been able to accomplish throughout his career and I know he feels the same about me,” Ryan said in a statement. “Jim’s defenses are always tough and ranked near the top of the league standings. I wanted to give Jim the opportunity to pursue other opportunities and so we have terminated his contract. He did a terrific job with the Bills defense this past year and our plan is for our defense to continue to play well and be a dominating force.”
As PFR’s Dallas Robinson noted in his story on the Bills’ expected hiring of Thurman, the move is a little surprising, since Schwartz did a great job with Buffalo’s defense in 2014 — the unit finished second in the NFL in DVOA. But Ryan and Schwartz have different defensive philosophies and wouldn’t have been a natural pairing.
The former Lions head coach will now have the opportunity to pursue other DC openings, so we’ll have to see if teams whose searches appear to be winding down, such as Washington or the Giants, decide to give Schwartz a call.