Buffalo Bills first-year coach and former Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott has surrounded himself with several former Panthers players and talked to a couple of Carolina assistants about joining him in Buffalo.
Now McDermott wants to pluck a well-respected and long-tenured member of the Panthers’ front office to be the Bills’ general manager.
Buffalo has asked for permission to interview Carolina assistant general manager Brandon Beane for the position, Panthers spokesman Steven Drummond confirmed Monday.
ESPN’s Wendi Nix was the first to report that the Bills had reached out to Carolina about Beane.
The Panthers would have a hard time keeping Beane from interviewing, assuming they wanted to. Teams can block front office personnel from interviewing with other clubs if the position is one that does not include having final say on roster decisions.
McDermott has had a strong voice since getting the Buffalo job in January, although it’s uncertain whether his contract dictates him having control of the 53-man roster.
Beane, 40, has served in a variety of roles for the Panthers since joining the organization in 1998. He spent seven seasons as the football operations director and was the interim GM in 2012 after Marty Hurney’s in-season exit.
The Panthers went 6-4 during Beane’s tenure as interim GM.
Beane interviewed for the permanent position before Dave Gettleman was hired, then was promoted to assistant GM before the 2015 season.
Beane is well respected throughout the organization and would likely be among the candidates to succeed Gettleman, who turned 66 in February and was semi-retired when the Panthers hired him away from the New York Giants.
Beane, a graduate of UNCWilmington, drew outside interest early this offseason when he met with San Francisco about its GM opening. The 49ers ended up hiring John Lynch.
The Panthers could try to arrange to make Beane a defacto GM in waiting, similar to Eric DeCosta’s situation with the Ravens. But such a wink-wink arrangement would seem to violate the Rooney Rule, which requires teams to interview at least one minority candidate for head coaching, coordinator and front-office vacancies.
McDermott, who spent seven seasons running the Panthers’ defense, has three former Carolina players on his roster -- running back Mike Tolbert, receiver Philly Brown and nickel back Leonard Johnson.
He also was interested in Carolina linebackers coach Al Holcomb for the Bills’ defensive coordinator’s post -- although the Panthers apparently nixed that idea. Panthers quarterback coach Ken Dorsey interviewed for the Bills’ offensive coordinator position that went to Rick Dennison.
During the second round of the draft last week, the Bills raised eyebrows by trading up to move one spot ahead of the Panthers at No. 63 and select Temple offensive lineman Dion Dawkins, a player Carolina scouted and brought to Charlotte for a visit.
The Panthers took Western Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Moton one pick later.