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That’s at least the belief within the Patriots organization, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

Rapoport reported prior to Thursday night’s game that the Patriots just don’t foresee a long-term future with the cornerback they found out of the University of West Alabama in 2014.

“My understanding is it is expected to be his final season in New England,” Rapoport said. “The reason is they invested a lot in Stephon Gilmore. They are not going to franchise-tag Butler if he goes out and has another Pro Bowl season.”

According to Rapoport, the Patriots and Butler’s camp never really came close to reaching a contract agreement.

“They made a slew of offers for him over the last couple of years, none recently,” Rapoport said. “They really are done negotiating.”

The Patriots are so far down the road with their Butler plan that, according to Rapoport, they’re already factoring him in to the compensatory pick formula next offseason.

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The Buffalo Bills have parted ways with general manager Doug Whaley after four seasons, the team announced Sunday. The news comes hours after the conclusion of the 2017 NFL Draft.

Whaley joined the team as assistant general manager in 2010 and was later hired as general manager in 2013 after Buddy Nix stepped down following that year’s draft. In Whaley’s four seasons as general manager, the team finished 30-34 and had just one winning season (2014).

The Bills also terminated the professional and amateur scouting departments, Pegula said at a press conference Sunday.

Whaley seemed to at least be on the hot seat, if not nearing the end of his tenure when he admitted he wasn’t included in the conversations surrounding the firing of head coach Rex Ryan.

The timing of Whaley’s firing was curious, of course, considering it came less than 24 hours after the conclusion of the 2017 NFL Draft. Bills owner Terry Pegula said keeping Whaley (and the scouting department) around through the draft completed the group’s work.

“The decision was made now because this is the end of the scouting year,” Pegula said. “We ran a process and as a result of that process after the draft we made the decision.”

“He put the whole thing together,” Pegula said of Whaley’s involvement with the 2017 draft.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport says the scouting community expected the move, adding new Bills head coach Sean McDermott had a heavy hand in Buffalo’s draft-night trade. Rapoport added some early possible candidates for the Bills‘ opening include Panthers personnel men Brandon Beane and Don Gregory.

McDermott will be consulted by ownership during the GM search, Pegula said.

“Sure, I will ask Sean questions,” Pegula said. “We will use every resource available.”

Whaley’s draft tenure was marred by injuries to his lone two first round picks — receiver Sammy Watkins and defensive end Shaq Lawson — and later-round selections that failed to stick, as well as the albatross he immediately inherited and for which he was forced to find an alternative in E.J. Manuel. The Watkins selection became uglier after repeated struggles with foot issues, as well as the fact Whaley dealt away a 2015 first-round pick (and fourth-round selection) to move up to grab the wideout.

Whaley also had some painfully memorable meetings with the media (as few and far between as they came), going immediately on the defensive in one of his last press conferences as GM, which included a reporter saying I’m actually trying to figure out what you (Whaley) do for a living while questioning Whaley’s nonexistent role in Ryan’s firing.

While it’s somewhat peculiar to see a personnel decision-maker fired just hours after the three most important roster construction days of the calendar, this isn’t the first time a GM has left his post in Buffalo after completing a draft. Nix, whom Whaley replaced, stepped down from the position just weeks after the 2013 draft, in which Buffalo selected Manuel. The passer was at the center of one of the final decisions made with Whaley’s input, resulting in the benching of Tyrod Taylor in what was classified as an injury-related “business decision” — Taylor’s contract would have become fully guaranteed at $30.75 million had he suffered an injury in the final week of the 2016 season — and to see what the Bills had in Manuel.

The result: Taylor restructured his deal in Buffalo, Manuel signed with the Raiders as a backup and Whaley is out of work.



The Lions are being a little more transparent about their drafting process.

Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Both the Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn and head coach Jim Caldwell have shrouded their tenure in Allen Park with secrecy. Injury news has been on lockdown since Caldwell joined the team in 2014. Quinn has put the clamps on training camp reporting, ensuring that anything resembling strategy is embargoed from reaching the public via the media.

That’s why it’s a bit surprising to hear that—for the first time ever—NFL Network will actually have cameras in the Lions’ draft war room. Via’s Richard Deitsch:

The NFL Network is a big believer in having cameras in team draft war rooms. The network will be at 20 team facilities this year, including the Browns, 49ers, Titans, Jets, Chargers, Panthers, Cardinals, Colts, Buccaneers, Broncos, Lions, Texans, Seahawks, Chiefs, Cowboys, Packers. Steelers, Falcons, Rams and Vikings.
The war room camera should give us an interesting look into the live reactions of Detroit’s front office as they make their selections throughout the draft.

But if you’re hoping for a peak at the Lions’ draft board, don’t bank on it. Teams are very careful about the placement of those cameras, and we typically don’t get much, if any, audio to go along with the video feed.

However, you may remember last year that the Lions themselves gave us a little peak into their war room after the draft had finished. They posted a video of the moment they called and selected Taylor Decker in the first round, and we even saw a blurry draft board in the background. From there, we tried taking a closer look at what the draft board revealed, though it was hard to make any clear conclusions from the video.

Regardless, it’s nice to see the Lions being a little more transparent and allowing their fans to have a little behind-the-scenes coverage on draft day.


Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is expected to become the San Francisco 49ers’ next head coach, according to NFL Network’s Michael Silver.

According to sources familiar with both parties, it is almost certain that Shanahan will accept the 49ers’ multiyear offer, per Silver. If he does accept, Silver added, Packers director of player personnel Brian Gutekunst is the favorite for general-manager duties — followed by Vikings assistant GM George Paton and Packers director of football operations Eliot Wolf.

The 49ers’ interest in Seahawks offensive line coach Tom Cable was real, according to Silver. Owner Denise DeBartolo York interviewed him on the phone Tuesday for an hour. Among the GM candidates who told Jed York they wanted Cable as head coach were Trent Kirchner, Scott Fitterer and Chris Ballard (who declined to interview). Kirchner and Cable pulled out because they became convinced that the 49ers had informally offered Shanahan the job and that he planned to accept, per Silver.

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