The Buffalo Bills announced that general manager Buddy Nix was stepping down from his position, paving the way for Doug Whaley to take over as the team transitions into a new era.
While there has been a ton of hate for Nix’s failure to address the quarterback position since he was hired as general manager in 2009, he clearly had a plan to build the team into a contender for the long-term.
When Nix took over in 2009, the roster was in shambles at every position. The rebuild would not be easy, which is why he took the “best player available” route in the draft, rather than drafting for need.
Instead of selecting a quarterback that would essentially be set up for failure, much like Jacksonville did by selecting Blaine Gabbert or the Texans selecting David Carr; both teams that had no running game, no offensive line, and subpar receivers, Nix stuck to his board, opting to select the most talented players to fill out the roster.
In 2009, the offensive line consisted of Kirk Chambers, Geoff Hangartner, Brad Butler and Jonathan Scott. Now, the Bills have young talented players like Cordy Glenn, Eric Wood, Kraig Urbik and Chris Hairston.
He turned a front seven featuring Aaron Schobel, Chris Kelsay, Kawika Mitchell, Keith Ellison and Marcus Stroud into a ferocious bunch with the likes of Mario Williams, Mark Anderson, Marcell Dareus, Kiko Alonso, and Manny Lawson.
Nix scoured the waiver wire as well, adding Scott Chandler, who has been arguably the best tight end the Bills have had in roughly 20 years, and Kraig Urbik, a mauling guard that recently signed a long-term extension.
Like every NFL executive, Nix had his share of errors. Passing on quarterbacks Andy Dalton and Colin Kaepernick in 2011, and opting to go in a different direction than Russell Wilson on day 2 of the 2012 draft. But can you really blame him for wanting to field the best possible roster in order for a young quarterback to succeed?
In the three years Nix spent as General Manager, the Bills posted a 16-32 record. But when you take a step back and compare the 2013 roster to the one he inherited from 2009, Nix clearly made the team better and has put them in a position to succeed for the foreseeable future.
Nix’s 2013 draft selection of E.J. Manuel will define his legacy as the general manager of the Bills, but Nix never got the respect from the fans he truly deserved. He took over what was arguably the worst roster in the National Football League and had to replace nearly every player on the team.
From the 90 players from the 2009 training camp roster, only seven players remain on the team: Fred Jackson, Stevie Johnson, Kyle Williams, Rian Lindell, Garrison Sanborn, Bryan Scott and Leodis McKelvin.
General Managers are typically given three-to-four years max to turn over a roster, and Nix left right when it appears that all the pieces are in place to be a contender.
Luckily, the Bills stated that Nix would be retained as a “special assistant” to Whaley, meaning that he will have the chance to see his work in action.
For those knocking Nix for the team’s lack of success during his tenure, take a step back and realize that he had the best intentions for the Buffalo Bills’ organization; grooming and mentoring Whaley into one of the most respected assistant executives in the league, while rebuilding a roster that had no chance.
All in all, Nix did a fine job during his time with the Bills, and should be held in high regards by fans. He took on a difficult task that many potential suitors wanted no part of.
On behalf of the #BillsMafia, dadgumit, thank you Buddy!