Buffalo Bills hold visits with Gary Barnidge and Brandon Beane

Oct 23, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns tight end Gary Barnidge (82) against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals won 31-17. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 23, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns tight end Gary Barnidge (82) against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals won 31-17. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /

In an attempt to find a new GM and more difference makers on the field, the Buffalo Bills held visits with both Gary Barnidge and Brandon Beane.

Following the NFL Draft, which ended a little over a week ago, the Buffalo Bills still had some holes to fill on their roster. In fact, they had a glaring need at GM after they fired Doug Whaley. with the draft behind them, the Bills have now started a GM search and the second wave of free agency.

Up until this point, Sean McDermott has done an excellent job of figuring out what this team needs and what they need to do to make it happen. His attention to detail has landed Buffalo their most experienced coaching staff in a long time, some quality veterans to help change the culture in the locker room and a solid group of rookies that made up the most successful draft class this team has seen in a while.

Let’s start with the GM search, which will be important in deciding the future of this team. There are several routes that they can go, but a couple of those routes stand out early on. It’ll be the first search for a GM under the Pegulas as they search for the franchise’s 13th general manager.

Heading into Thursday, the Buffalo Bills were reportedly meeting with two different candidates for the GM position. Only one of those interviews, with Brandon Beane, was confirmed by the Buffalo Bills so far.

Brandon Beane is currently the assistant GM for the Carolina Panthers. It’s no secret that McDermott’s ties to the Panthers is the main reason Beane was the first to get an interview. The Buffalo Bills have brought in several former Panthers’ players, such as Philly Brown, Mike Tolbert and Leonard Johnson.

After a 7-year stint where Brandon Beane was the Director of Football Operations, he was promoted to assistant GM in 2015 and has held the position ever since. He has been in the NFL for a total of 20 years, all with the Panthers. He would bring a nice balance to the Bills’ front office, having experience in both scouting pro and college prospects, as well as negotiating contracts.

Those are two things fans weren’t happy with under Whaley — contracts and bringing in talent. Not to forget, he has also dealt with some aspects of the NFL Draft, so that won’t be anything new to him. He recently interviewed for the 49ers’ vacant GM position, but they ultimately went with John Lynch.

Beane would be a great addition to this front office and would be a familiar face for Sean McDermott, something he values heavily.

The other interview, which has yet to be confirmed, was with Brain Gaine. It doesn’t sound like it happened yet, despite reports saying it would happen on Thursday. That will likely occur today, especially since the Bills have already asked the Texans’ permission to interview him. Gaine is Houston’s current Director of Pro Player Personnel.

As of right now, Brandon Beane is the only confirmed interview for the vacant GM position.

Moving on to the free agent visit that occurred on Thursday.

After the Cleveland Browns drafted David Njoku in the first round, they didn’t have much of a need for Gary Barnidge, an 8-year veteran that is currently 31 years old. His production the past two seasons has been admirable and his success story is similar to that of Lorenzo Alexander, but the Browns decided to part ways with him.

Their loss could be the Buffalo Bills‘ gain. After failing to draft a tight end this year, despite it being a need, the Bills could still use one on their roster. That’s why they hosted him for a visit on Wednesday. Currently, the team has four tight ends — Charles Clay, Blake Annen, Nick O’Leary and Logan Thomas.

Clay is the obvious starter, but has been held back by injuries since the Bills grabbed him. The other three are unproven and will be fighting for a spot. O’Leary had 9 catches for 114 yards last season, while Annen and Thomas haven’t recorded any stats.

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If the Buffalo Bills add Barnidge, he would be the clear backup to Charles Clay. He would still see a lot of action, since offensive coordinator Rick Dennison prefers two tight ends on the field.

Gary Barnidge broke onto the scene in 2015 when he finished with 79 catches, 1,043 yards and 9 touchdowns — including a trip to the Pro Bowl. He followed that up with 55 catches, 612 yards and 2 touchdowns last season, which are still good numbers on a team with quarterback issues (Browns).

What’s even more interesting about Gary Barnidge is the four years he spent with the Carolina Panthers — while McDermott was a coach there. Although he only had 11 starts in that span and only recorded 18 catches for 320 yards and one TD, knowledge of McDermott’s system is a huge plus in the coach’s book.

I would love to see Gary Barnidge sign with the Buffalo Bills, but it looks like he has a couple more visits before he makes a final decision. It has been reported that he will also visit the Panthers and Jaguars. The Panthers need someone to take some pressure off Greg Olsen and the Jaguars could use some production out of a tight end.

We should be learning of his decision soon.

Speaking of possible additions to the Bills roster this season, the team recently signed 10 undrafted free agents. They will all have an opportunity to prove their worth.

Learn more about the 10 rookies in the link below.

Next: Bills signed 10 undrafted free agents

What are your thoughts on the GM and free agent visits being made by the Buffalo Bills? Leave your thoughts below!