The Bills are “zeroed in” on Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott, who is now the leading contender for Buffalo’s head coaching position, according to Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News (Twitter link). A deal between the two sides could be finalized in the coming days, per Carucci. Meanwhile, Tom Pelissero of USA Today reports (Twitter link) that while there are “positive talks” between McDermott and the Bills, the parties still have “issues to sort out” before a contract is signed.
From the moment previous head coach Rex Ryan was fired, offensive coordinator/interim head coach Anthony Lynn was viewed as the top candidate to take the reins in Buffalo. However, buzz has been building around McDermott in recent days, and reports earlier today indicated that Bills ownership was especially taken with the Carolina play-caller. Buffalo’s coaching search has been especially concise, as the club has only conducted interviews with Lynn, Harold Goodwin, and Kris Richard in addition to McDermott.
McDermott, meanwhile, has had a full schedule during this offseason’s hiring cycle, as he’s already conducted two interviews with the Chargers and one with the 49ers. McDermott’s name also came up during head coaching searches in 2016, as he met with the Browns, Buccaneers, and Eagles, and was linked to the Giants.
The 42-year-old McDermott has coordinated Carolina’s defense since the 2011 campaign, and helped lead a unit that ranked second in DVOA in 2015 as the Panthers raced through the NFC playoffs en route to a Super Bowl appearance. This year, Carolina’s defense slipped to 10th in DVOA, but did lead the league in sacks. Prior to joining the Panthers, McDermott was the Eagles’ DC from 2009-10, and worked in a variety of roles with Philadelphia for a decade prior.
If the Bills do indeed come to terms with McDermott, four clubs — the Chargers, Rams, Broncos, and 49ers — will still be involved in the head coaching hunt.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.