File this one for when all this NHL Draft and World Cup hubbub quiets down.
I'm thinking ahead to when Terry Pegula buys the Buffalo Bills.
What will change?
Ever since March when we got into football draft-mode we tried to figure out why the bosses at the for-sale Bills wouldn't want to spend future assets on immediate needs. Turns out, they did. Sure, they haven't said as much, but Doug Whaley talked at first about "win now" and having that pick be fairly late next year, then recently called "win now" something that all teams are about. The story changed because I'm pretty sure they don't want the Sammy Watkins trade chalked up solely to a GM sneaking into Dad's liquor cabinet when his parents are away.
p.s. Jairus Byrd.
The Watkins move is one a lot of us might have made under the circumstances, and I've never blamed the Bills for making it. But, as often happens with them, they're having trouble telling the tale. Spinmasters, they ain't.
Whaley would have had good reason to think he needs a winning team this year to stick around. Sports teams get sold and executives get subbed out, especially losing ones. It's logical and there is precedent.
Ironically, however, when Pegula buys the team a competing precedent will emerge. When buying the Sabres, Pegula kept his general manager firmly in place. Not only was Darcy Regier not let go upon the sale, he eventually found his way to a contract extension. I, like most fans, didn't think the extension was warranted, but I think Pegula likes to throw his money around. Whatever you need, Darcy.
So, will Whaley's reputation impress Pegula the way Regier's apparently did?
The key, perhaps, is Russ Brandon.
When Pegula bought the Sabres, upper management was dismissed, but those men were part-owners. Larry Quinn and Dan DiPofi cashed out and that was that. I'm not sure this tells us anything about what will happen with the Bills.
I believe if Brandon stays, Whaley stays. Brandon considers Whaley a star, and he's his star. But before all that, would Pegula and Brandon choose each other? Brandon has loads of experience, much of which has been in softening fans' concerns about the team's future. Upon the sale, presumably, all that goes away.
That's the thing about these sales too -- it's not that new owners necessarily have their own sports guys in mind, but they do tend to bring the higher-ups. So you might expect Pegula to hire a new president, say. Like he did with Ted Black.
Perhaps Pegula would want Brandon to run the football department, and work above Whaley. Fine, but is that what Brandon is suited for? Would that be popular with fans? I think Brandon doesn't get a rougher ride from fans because they separate him from football. If he becomes the "football executive" that could change. After all, he's been high on the Bills' food chain throughout this 14-year playoff drought.
Also, I'm not assuming Brandon would want all that. He might, he might not. I've wondered if he doesn't move to the league level someday, perhaps even on a commissioner track. (Is there a commissioner track?)
We'll be talking about this someday soon. Just gotta let the soccer buzz settle first.