Bills GM on Strategy, Trades, Ryan

Bills general manager Doug Whaley had a busy offseason. He added offensive weapons LeSean McCoy, Tyrod Taylor, Percy Harvin, Richie Incognito and Charles Clay, and he re-signed defensive end Jerry Hughes. Perhaps the most significant move of them all was hiring Rex Ryan as his head coach.

The executive sat down with Chris Brown of to discuss the moves, his team’s strategy, and the team’s outlook. We’ve compiled some of the notable quotes, which you can find below…

On the team’s front office strategy, and how the Bills are constantly looking to build for the future:

“Every day we sit and think about how we can make this roster better. Outside the perception of some is we’re reckless, we’re rogue. No, everything is calculated and that is driven a lot by information and what makes the best sense for our team going forward. If you look at any move that most management teams make, it’s not that move, but how that move sets you up for your next move.”

“It’s a delicate balance because we have to win now and we have to produce this season, but it helps you when you have depth and you have some pieces to play with. So it’s a delicate balance and each situation is different, but again if you can get guys with a high upside and a long shelf life you have a chance to stay competitive for a long time.”

On the team trading veteran quarterback Matt Cassel:

“When the opportunity presented itself where we could get a valuable draft pick for Matt Cassel, and you already felt comfortable enough with EJ (Manuel) because we moved Cassel off the roster previously. So if you look at it analytically if everything is equal or close, go with the guy with higher upside and the longer shelf life.

“Then you add in the fact that we’re going to get a pick and another young guy that we’ll have another four years, so you have two guys with longer shelf lives and possibly better upside. Analytically and informationally that makes the decision.”

On the relationship between him and head coach Rex Ryan:

“It’s easier because we’re looking for the same type of players. So what I deem as a good player or a player that can fit what we’re trying to build he seems the same way. Obviously there is always going to be some difference of opinion, but generally he wants the best player at every position and we do too.

“The scouts were wondering how things were going to change. He comes in and says, ‘Keep doing what you’re doing. Get good football players. We’ll make it work.’ So we don’t want to be scheme or system specific when we scout. You can see it in the offense as well. If they shut down Sammy (Watkins) then you’ve got Percy (Harvin). If they shut down Percy then you’ve got Charles (Clay). It’s not a difficult situation or problem to solve. Just get as many good football players as possible.”

On owners Terry and Kim Pegula’s willingness to spend on the team:

“They have made a concerted effort to say, ‘If they’re ours and we believe in them, let’s exhaust every resource we have to try to keep them.’ It starts with them and that to me goes along with drafting being the backbone of your organization. If you draft well and you can keep your own then you don’t have to go and get as many free agent targets. You’ve already got those guys on your roster.”

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