Doug Marrone surprised many and opted out of his contract with Buffalo on Wednesday. The former Bills coach had a three-day window to exercise this option.
The clock on Marrone’s option began ticking right after Buffalo’s season-ending win against the New England Patriots. According to a source close to the situation, Marrone then met with Bills owner Terry Pegula on Sunday evening. All Marrone asked for was a two-year contract extension for he and his staff with no raise. Pegula said no.
Marrone knew that Pegula was in the middle of conducting a search to bring someone new into the organization to run the franchise. It is believed that the new Bills owner is seriously talking with six or seven different candidates.
Pegula is looking for a fresh face because of two things. First, he’s not a football guy. Pegula is a billionaire business man that bought the Buffalo Sabres nearly four years ago. Second, he wants to hire someone with no inside influence within the Bills organization.
Marrone had two years left on his original deal and wanted to add an additional two.
His staff was a little different, though. Former Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine left to take the Browns head coaching job one year ago and took the entire Buffalo defensive staff with him. In doing so, that left Marrone to hire a brand new coaching staff on that side of the ball.
In the NFL, most assistant coaches are on two-year deals. So now you have the entire offensive staff with contracts coming up and the defensive staff with a little more than one year left on their deals. It all boiled down to Marrone wanting his entire staff on the same two-year contractual cycle.
Buffalo, 9-7 in 2014, had their best season in years. Pegula bought the franchise last fall. With new ownership and an uncertain future because of the unknown of who would run the franchise, Marrone wanted contractual assurances for him and his staff. Despite being there for two years now, Marrone just wanted to hit the reset button from a contract standpoint because someone new is eventually going to be overseeing the franchise.
Marrone’s agent, Jimmy Sexton, wrote the opt out language in his original contract with Buffalo in case of ownership change, which happened in September after the death of longtime owner Ralph Wilson. Marrone will still make his $4 million 2015 salary regardless of whether he gets another job.
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