The Bills’ general manager from 1986-1992 and 2015 Hall of Fame inductee, Polian told Carucci he will only provide consulting services for the Bills.
“Listen, I owe this franchise virtually everything I have in the National Football League,” Polian said. “A good reason why a yellow jacket’s on my shoulder is because of the Buffalo Bills. The bottom line is, I want this team to succeed.”
Although the 73-year-old Polian turned down an offer to be the Bills’ football czar, his being inducted into the Hall of Fame in August could help his chances at departing ESPN and reuniting with his former team, Carucci writes.
Here are some more Polian- and Bills-related items on Christmas Eve.
- Among the stances Polian offered to owner Terry Pegula in recent months was that semi-breakout quarterback Tyrod Taylor is not the team’s long-term answer under center. “You can win with Tyrod if the other pieces are good,” Polian told Carucci. “If there are six or seven Pro Bowlers at other positions, you can win with Tyrod. But he’s not the quarterback of the future. He’s not Jim Kelly, and, although he doesn’t have the same track record, he’s probably comparable to Frank Reich. But he’s not 6-feet-4 like Frank Reich. He’s small and he’s going to get hurt, and he did. Now, you have to find his backup and the quarterback of the future.”
- Polian also would likely cut EJ Manuel if brought in as a consultant after recommending the sputtering ex-first-rounder’s release to Pegula in a recent phone conversation. Manuel has one year left on his rookie contract and represented a source of friction between current GM Doug Whaley and offensive coordinator Greg Roman, Carucci notes. The latter wanted Buffalo to retain Matt Cassel as Taylor’s backup, while Whaley, who played a key role in bringing Manuel to Buffalo at No. 16 overall in 2013, preferred the cheaper Manuel stay. Whaley has one year left on his contract, and per the Buffalo News, hasn’t had extension discussions.
- Polian referred to the current Bills offensive line as “aging and unathletic,” a take that confused Buffalo News reporter Tyler Dunne, given that only Richie Incognito is over 29 among the current nucleus up front. Dunne also does not like the potential for coordination between Polian, Whaley and Rex Ryan, with Polian being critical of both recently.
- Mario Williams‘ spree of assessments on the shortcomings of the Bills’ 21st-ranked defense continued, with the veteran insisting the current personnel does not fit Ryan’s scheme, per an Associated Press report. The 30-year-old edge presence also acknowledges his days with the Bills could very well be over soon. “Of course there’ll be changes,” Williams told media. “I mean, that’s obvious. You just wait and see if my number’s called.” Williams’ 2016 cap number of $19.9MM would be by far the most on the Bills.