Brian Gaine ended up replacing Joe Schoen as the Bills’ assistant general manager, but the team did interview outside candidates. Buffalo attempted to meet with another, according to Brandon Beane, but was denied the opportunity.
The Bills identified Falcons vice president of player personnel Kyle Smith as a candidate for their assistant GM post, according to ESPN.com’s Michael Rothstein (on Twitter). The Falcons denied Smith permission to meet with the Bills, leading to Gaine’s promotion.
While Gaine may well have been promoted regardless of Smith’s availability, the Falcons used an NFL rule to ensure Terry Fontenot‘s top lieutenant remained in Atlanta. Since Smith is classified as Fontenot’s second-in-command, Buffalo’s assistant GM gig was considered a lateral move. That opened the door for the Falcons to block the Bills from meeting with the western New York native.
The Falcons hired Smith shortly after Fontenot took over last year. He had previously spent several years with Washington, finishing out his time there as the team’s VP of player personnel. The young exec ran multiple drafts for the team, which was without a traditional GM for a stretch, but left ahead of Ron Rivera‘s second year in the nation’s capital.
Buffalo now has Gaine, Terrance Gray and Matt Bazirgan positioned in high-ranking posts under Beane, who has lost a few top staffers over the past two offseasons. The Giants hired Schoen as their GM, and Schoen took ex-Dolphins GM Dennis Hickey with him. Buffalo lost Dan Morgan last year, when he became Carolina’s assistant GM. The Bills interviewed former Steelers staffer Brandon Hunt for the assistant GM job this year, but he is now with the Eagles, joining a team that lost four staffers to assistant GM roles this year.