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How Doug Marrone walked from Bills with $4 million of new owner’s money

Florida Football Insiders



Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

As the Jaguars getting ready to host the Buffalo Bills Sunday afternoon at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, much has been written and said.

Most are probably aware that the Jags Coach, Doug Marrone, used to be Buffalo’s coach.

But you may not be aware the circumstances in which Marrone left Buffalo and ended up in Jacksonville in the first place.

Oh, and ended up $4,000,000 richer by his own choice.

That’s right, Marrone informed the Bills, and new owner Terry Pegula on New Year’s Eve 2014 that he would not be returning to Buffalo. And, he would be exercising a rare “opt out” clause in his contract that said he got the full remainder of his 2015 salary to leave.

The catch was, he had a 3-day window in 2014 where he could do so and only if, the team had been sold.

Why did the Bills and former late legendary owner Ralph Wilson agree to this? Great question.

Then, Wilson passed away in March of 2014, and the team was sold to Pegula

As this article ways out: there is great debate about whether Marrone was actually trying to get a contract extension for himself and his assistants, and when that didn’t work with the new owners, he exercised the clause.

Never mind those semantics. It’s still highly unusual that a coach walks away from his existing deal, on his own and basically forces his employer to pay him and yet, allow him to work somewhere else, immediately.

But, that’s what Marrone did in 2015, when he became the associate head coach and offensive line coach in Jacksonville for then coach Gus Bradley.

Lo and behold, fast forward to December 2016, and Bradley was fired. And the Jaguars owner, Shad Khan turned to a coach with previous NFL head coaching experience in Buffalo. And Marrone was given the chance, as the interim, in the final two games of last season.

Eventually, Marrone was given the job permanently, starting this season, and you know the rest about the Jaguars amazing turnaround in 2017.

And if you didn’t know all of the story, you now know how the Bills coach, and his power agent Jimmy Sexton, walked away from Sunday’s Jags playoff opponent three years ago.

And got $4 million to do it.

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