Ex-Jets blocker Jonotthan Harrison headed to New York Giants

New York Jets

The New York Giants confirmed the signing of blocker Jonotthan Harrison who previously spent three seasons with the New York Jets.

Jonotthan Harrison is coming back to MetLife Stadium

The offensive lineman has inked a deal with the New York Giants, the team confirmed on Wednesday. His new contract is worth $2 million over a single season.

Harrison, set to turn 30 in August, previously spent three seasons as an occasional starter with the Giants’ MetLife Stadium co-tenants, the New York Jets (2017-19). He spent last season on the Buffalo Bills’ practice squad and made note of completing the de facto Empire State trifecta in a caption posted on Instagram.

“It’s official!! I’m completing the New York NFL trifecta! Year 8 coming at ya!” Harrison wrote. “Truly grateful and blessed for the opportunity. Notice the GIANT smile? Yeah I’m definitely stoked!!!!” [sic]

Harrison entered the league as an undrafted free agent out of Florida in 2014, spending three seasons with the Indianapolis Colts before descending upon the metropolitan area. He partook in 40 games in green, mostly at center, making 19 starts, including 10 in 2019. His release was among the Jets’ final departures prior to the start of the season in September. Quarterback Sam Darnold sang Harrison’s praises upon learning of what he described as an unexpected release.

“For the last 2.5 years, for lack of a better term, he’s been kind of like an older brother to me, showing me the ropes. It’s been fun, man, watching him come to work every day. He works harder than anyone I know,” Darnold said in a report from ESPN’s Rich Cimini. “Jon is an incredible human being, a great leader, and a great friend.”

Harrison becomes the third center on the Giants’ active roster, joining Nick Gates and Spencer Pulley. The second-year man Gates started all 16 games last season and both he and Pulley are under contract for next season.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

How J.J. Watt’s “mitochondria” tweet invokes the Buffalo Bills

New York Giants, JJ Watt

Watt’s Tuesday morning science lesson sent Buffalo Bills fans into hysterics as the prized defender seeks his next destination.

The day elementary school science teachers prepared us for finally came on Tuesday morning.

Superstar free agent J.J. Watt set football Twitter ablaze with a cryptic posting that simply read “Mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell”. Watt, a three-time Defensive Player of the Year, offered no context for his scientific observation. Such labeling of mitochondria is common in biology textbooks and the phrase gained a bit of notoriety in 2013, when Tumblr users mocked the supposed uselessness of this information being taught in schools. Mitochondria are found in the cells of most eukaryotic organisms (whose cells contain a membrane encased nucleus).

With Watt set to move on from the rebuilding Houston Texans, fans and analysts couldn’t help but wonder if the prized defender was hinting at his new destination. The organelle held particular meaning for fans of the Buffalo Bills, as some fans pointed out that Buffalo is home to the Mitochondria Research Society. The MRS is described on the National Organization for Rare Disorders’ (NORD) site as “a non-profit, international organization of scientists and physicians. The purpose of MRS is to find a cure for mitochondrial diseases by promoting research on basic science of mitochondria, mitochondria pathogenesis, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment throughout the world”.

Buffalo fans were hardly alone in trying to decipher Watt’s tweet in their favor. Syracuse.com’s Ryan Talbot jokingly pointed out mitochondria’s bean-like shape, facetiously declaring that Watt was negotiating with Bills general manager Brandon Beane. Talbot’s mentions were quickly filled by overzealous fans of the Chicago Bears, who insisted that Watt was referring to the Windy City’s Cloud Gate sculpture, commonly referred to as “The Bean”. None of the league’s fanbases were truly without guilt in this endeavor, each stretching their own theory further than the last. Only Bills fans, it would appear, were able to find a local landmark to strengthen their case. 

Watt, 31, requested his release from the Texans after a decade in Houston. While a bittersweet breakup, the split appeared to be mutual, with Watt’s wish fulfilled by owner Cal McNair. Watt has earned countless accolades in his NFL career and departs Houston as the Texans’ all-time leader in sacks (101), tackles for a loss (172) and All-Pro nominations (5). He earned 52 tackles and five sacks, as well as the sixth touchdown of his career (and first since 2014) last season, as he partook in all 16 games after his 0219 campaign was mostly lost due to a torn pectoral. 

Despite Watt’s apparent hint, don’t expect the former Texan to make a decision any time soon. He indicated as such when responding to an impatient follower on Sunday night.

“I scroll through door dash for like an hour before I pick a restaurant man…” [sic] Watt told the fan. “You’re gonna have to give me a second to choose a new team and city.” [sic].

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Liberty: Amanda Zahui B gives thanks and farewell

Amanda Zahui B, one of the longest-tenured members of the New York Liberty, is moving to the Los Angeles Sparks.

Another Swedish athlete who took over Madison Square Garden’s staging area is moving on.

New York Liberty veteran Amanda Zahui B has announced her metropolitan departure, as the WNBA veteran will join the Los Angeles Sparks. Zahui B, a Stockholm native, was the longest-tenured member of the team alongside fellow international import Rebecca Allen. She originally joined the Liberty via a trade with the Tulsa Shock five years ago. The Minnesota alumna entered the Association as the second overall pick in the 2015 WNBA Draft, chosen by the Shock, who now go by the Dallas Wings moniker.

Over five seasons in seafoam, Zahui B made her prescience felt on and off the court. She played a particularly large role in the Liberty’s 2020 endeavors in the Bradenton bubble, serving as a “baby vet” on a team laden with rookies. Zahui B averaged 9.0 points and 8.5 rebounds in her final Liberty season, partaking in all but one of the 22 games. Among her most cherished New York memories was a 37-point showing during a June 2019 win in Los Angels (the second-best single-game output in Liberty history) and hauling in a WNBA-record 21 defensive rebounds last August against Dallas, breaking a record held by Detroit’s Cindy Brown for over two decades. Along the way, Zahui B endeared herself to her Liberty teammates, developing strong friends with players like Allen and Han Xu.

After her departure was made official, Zahui B took to Instagram to pen a heartfelt farewell and thanks to her New York compatriots. Among the photos included in the post included her team gathered at midcourt at MSG, a Floridan pose with rookie Jazmine Jones, Sabrina Ionescu, Kylee Shook, and Leaonna Odom, and her participation in the 2018 NYC Pride March.

“I came to New York very confused, shattered in many ways, and really kind of lost. Lost in God’s plans. I had no clue that NY would become home,” Zahui B’s caption partially reads. “I grew so much as a player and even more as a person.”

“Finding my confidence would not have been possible without each and every single one of my teammates through my NY years,” she continued. “I don’t even know how I would’ve made it without y’all crazy asses! From our Turn-up crews to standing up against injustice, police brutality, racism, and for all kind of humans. No matter where or how, y’all will always be in my heart and we shall continue to make a change together.” [sic]

Zahui B’s New York teammates wished her well, including current Liberty reps Allen, Stokes, and Asia Durr.

Despite the loss of Zahui B, the Liberty have remained active in the transaction front, welcoming in 2020’s Most Improved Player champion Betnijah Laney from Atlanta, as well as Natasha Howard and Sami Whitcomb from Seattle through a three-team trade that also involved the Phoenix Mercury.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

BREAKING: Three-time champion Natasha Howard headed to New York Liberty

Former Seattle All-Star Natasha Howard is coming to the New York Liberty in exchange for the top overall pick.

Following the signing of Betnijah Laney, New York Liberty general manager Jonathan Kolb played coy when asked if the team was finished making moves. He gave a more concrete answer on Wednesday afternoon.

The Liberty announced on Wednesday afternoon that they have acquired Natasha Howard and Sami Whitcomb from the Seattle Storm in a three-team deal. Howard is a three-time WNBA champion and the 2019 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year.

“We have the privilege of welcoming multiple-time WNBA champions Natasha Howard and Sami Whitcomb to Brooklyn,” Kolb said in a team statement. “The magnitude of Natasha choosing to be in New York cannot be overstated. She is an All-WNBA talent who has worked for and earned everything that she has achieved, who has contributed to championship runs on multiple teams, and who will fit seamlessly into Walt Hopkins’ system.”

New York bids farewell to the top pick in April’s draft, which went to Seattle, as well as former All-Star Kia Nurse and 2020 first-round pick Megan Walker, who were each dealt to the Phoenix Mercury. The Liberty also sent over a 2022 first-round choice (acquired from Phoenix) to Seattle. They get back the sixth overall pick in 2021 from the Mercury, who also get the rights to Stephanie Talbot from New York. Talbot opted out of the 2020 season after coming over in a draft day trade with Minnesota.

Howard, 29, played a major role in three of the last four WNBA championships with the Storm, who took home the most recent title from the Bradenton bubble last fall. She also captured the 2017 championship with the Minnesota Lynx, working alongside then-Minnesota assistant Walt Hopkins, now the head coach of the Liberty.

After winning the Most Improved Player Award in 2018, Howard earned All-WNBA First Team honors in the following year and also picked up the Defensive Player of the Year title. She has averaged 9.1 points and 4.7 rebounds in her WNBA career, which began as the fifth overall pick in the 2014 draft with Indiana.

“I am very excited to be a part of the New York Liberty organization,” said Howard in a statement. “I’m also excited to meet my new teammates and the fans. I’m so pumped about the 2021 season.”

Howard was previously cored by the Storm, giving the team exclusive free agency rights, but now heads to New York as part of a sign-and-trade.

Also joining the Liberty is sharpshooter Sami Whitcomb. At 32, she is now the oldest member on the Liberty roster. Whitcomb has earned numerous accolades in Australia’s WNBL and was part of the Storm’s last two championship treks. Though born in California, Whitcomb holds Australian citizenship and has earned numerous accolades at the WNBL level. She led Seattle reserves with 8.1 points per game off the bench last season and sank all 22 of her free throw attempts.

“Sami Whitcomb will be an instant fan favorite, not only for her elite shot-making ability, but also for her tenacity and drive,” Kolb said. “A two-time champion in her own right, Sami knows what it takes to win in this league, and is exactly the kind of tough, talented, culture-first player we covet in New York.”

In the process, the Liberty will part ways with Nurse and Walker, each of whom partook in the Liberty’s 22-game endeavor in Florida last year. Nurse was one of the so-called “baby vets” on a New York squad that dressed seven rookies last season, alongside Amanda Zahui B. and Kiah Stokes. Nurse tallied 11.6 points per game last season after appearing in her first All-Star game in 2019. One of the aforementioned rookies was Walker, a fellow University of Connecticut alumna who was chosen ninth in last year’s draft. After missing the first four games due to a positive test for COVID-19, Walker partook in 18 games in the bubble, averaging 3.3 points.

“I would like to thank Kia Nurse and Megan Walker for their contributions to our organization,” added Kolb. “The unfortunate part of transactions such as these is that you have to say goodbye to people who have contributed to the team in so many ways. Kia shone particularly brightly in New York, becoming an All-Star in just her second season in the league. Megan’s rookie season was undoubtedly stunted by a preseason COVID diagnosis, but I have no doubt that she will return to top form in the coming years, and that both players will continue to flourish in Phoenix.”

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

Buffalo Bills sign ex-Giants RB Devonta Freeman to practice squad

New York Giantsm Devonta Freeman

The Buffalo Bills made a pair of roster moves as they prepare for their Divisional matchup against Baltimore on Saturday.

The Buffalo Bills announced a series of roster moves prior to Saturday’s night AFC Divisional Playoff matchup against the Baltimore Ravens (8:15 p.m. ET, NBC). In conjunction with the placement of running back Zack Moss on injured reserve, the team added rusher Devonta Freeman to their practice squad and activated offensive lineman Jordan Devey to their 53-man roster.

Freeman, 28, partook in five games with the New York Giants earlier this season, picking up 172 yards over five games (four starts). The two-time Pro Bowler was placed on injured reserve in November with an ankle ailment before landing on the reserve/COVID-19 list. He was outright released on January 7.

His best performance in blue was a 60-yard output on 17 carries in an October loss in Dallas. Freeman scored the first and only Giants touchdown in that same game. Previously, Freeman led the league with 11 rushing scores during the 2015 season as a member of the Atlanta Falcons. He reached two Pro Bowls as an Atlanta representative and has appeared in five postseason games, scoring a touchdown through the air or on the ground in each of them. Freeman was notably a member of the Falcons’ 2016-17 squad that reached Super Bowl LI.

With Moss placed on injured reserve, his postseason is over thanks to the required three-week stay that comes with such placement. Moss had 47 total yards during the Bills’ Wild Card win over the Indianapolis Colts in Orchard Park. Devin Singletary will likely shoulder a larger load, while other reserve rushers on the active roster include T.J. Yeldon and Taiwan Jones. Freeman joins Week 17 star Antonio Williams on the practice squad, with the latter scoring twice in the blowout win over Miami.

Devey, who celebrated his 33rd birthday on Monday, joins the Bills’ active roster after spending most of it on their practice squad. He was previously activated for the Bills’ October visit to East Rutherford to take on the Jets. Devey previously started six games during the 2014 New England Patriots’ run to Super Bowl XLIX and also has earned a playoff start with Kansas City. He has partaken in 43 games overall (21 starts) since entering the league in 2013 as an undrafted free agent out of Memphis.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

BREAKING: New York Jets fire head coach Adam Gase

New York Jets, Adam Gase

The New York Jets have relieved Gase of his duties after two seasons at the helm, the shortest tenure since Al Groh’s single campaign.

The New York Jets have announced the firing of head coach Adam Gase following their 28-14 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday afternoon.

Gase’s two-year New York tenure ends with a mark of 9-23, picking up the second-worst win percentage for a Jets head coach with at least one full year in the role, besting only Rich Kotite (1995-96, .125). His two-year term is also the shortest for a Jets head coach since Al Groh served a single season in 2000. Gase also held the title of interim general manager for just under a month after the firing of Mike Maccagnan during the 2019 offseason.

“This evening, I informed Adam Gase he will no longer serve as the Head Coach of the Jets,” Jets Chairman and CEO Christopher Johnson said in a team statement. “During his time here, I had the pleasure to get to know Adam and his wonderful family and wish them nothing but the best moving forward.  While my sincere intentions are to have stability in our organization – especially in our leadership positions – it is clear the best decision for the Jets is to move in a different direction. We knew there was a lot of work that needed to be done when Adam joined us in 2019. Our strong finish last year was encouraging, but unfortunately, we did not sustain that positive momentum or see the progress we all expected this season.

“To our fans, it is obvious we have not been good enough. We are committed to building a strong organization, on and off the field, and will continue to provide the necessary resources to field a team that you can be proud of.”

Hired in January 2019 after three years overseeing the Miami Dolphins, Gase was marketed as a head coach that could help the Jets’ offense turn the corner. He was reportedly even recommended by Peyton Manning, who posted the best numbers of his career during Gase’s time as the offensive coordinator in Denver.

However, the Jets never lived up to the promises of offensive prosperity, ranking dead last in the league in yardage in each of their two years under Gase’s watch. Additionally, franchise quarterback Sam Darnold never took the steps forward the Jets were hoping to see. The Jets endured several lengthy losing streaks over the past two seasons, including a streak of 13 consecutive defeats to open this season.

Gase’s tenure was also marred by rumors of in-fighting with several notable names in the organization, namely former rusher Le’Veon Bell, who was released in October. Bell was in the midst of the second season of a four-year, $54 million contract and never returned to his former All-Pro form displayed in Pittsburgh. Other prominent Jets to depart during the Gase years included Jamal Adams, Robby Anderson, Steve McLendon, Avery Williamson, Jason Myers, and Andre Roberts.

With this latest lost season, the Jets now own the longest active postseason drought in the NFL at 10 seasons after Cleveland, and Tampa Bay ended their respective streaks of futility this year. The Jets’ most recent two-win campaign was also their worst victory tally since the 1996 season under Kotite (1-15). Their last winning season came in 2015 when they finished 10-6 and lost their playoff spot on the last day of the season. Relative consolation comes from the fact that the Jets will choose second in the 2021 NFL Draft in April, a choice they will potentially use on their next franchise quarterback.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Jets waive veteran K Sam Ficken prior to finale

The well-traveled Ficken got off to a hot start in 2020, but his New York Jets career appears to be over after two seasons.

The New York Jets have announced several roster moves leading into their season finale against the New England Patriots (1 p.m. ET, CBS). Their most consequential moves may be the release of kicker Sam Ficken and the activation of starting blocker Greg Van Roten off of injured reserve.

Ficken, 28, sees his Jets career end after two seasons, continuing the Jason Myers saga on a sour note. He began the year on a strong note, converting his first nine field goal attempts and all six of his extra point opportunities through Week 6 action. A groin injury sidelined him for the next three games before he briefly returned for the Week 11 tilt against the Los Angeles Chargers, missing two extra points in the 34-28 defeat. In yet another visit to Los Angeles, this one coming against the Rams, Ficken score 11 of the Jets’ 23 points in their first win of the season, but he missed two, an extra point and field goal each, in last week’s victory over Cleveland at home.

The Jets (2-13) will use Chase McLaughlin as their kicker in New England. McLaughlin entered the league in 2019 and has spent time with eight different organizations in some capacity. This season, he was originally cut by Indianapolis after training camp before joining Minnesota’s practice squad. He later served as the Jacksonville Jaguars’ kicker for three weeks, converting all four field goal attempts, before the Jets picked him up in December. McLaughlin will become the fourth different kicker to appear in a regular season game for the Jets since the Pro Bowler Myers departed for Seattle after the 2018 campaign.

Van Roten partook in every offensive snap over the Jets’ first 11 games before leaving their Week 13 contest against Las Vegas with a toe injury. Ironically, the 30-year-old Van Roten was also paced in IR with a toe injury last season during his final year with the Carolina Panthers. Signed to a one-year deal over the offseason, Van Roten has been one of the Jets’ more consistent offensive line.

In addition to Van Roten and McLaughlin, a quartet of other Jets will make their debut on the active roster this week. Linebackers Noah Dawkins and Brady Sheldon were promoted from the practice squad, while another linebacker, Sharif Finch, and a defensive lineman, Tanzel Smart, were picked up and moved to the 53-man ledger.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Jets: Jordan Jenkins, Saquon Hampton done for season

New York Jets, Jordan Jenkins

Two New York Jets defenders will see their season end prematurely, as Jordan Jenkins and Saquon Hampton have been placed on IR.

The New York Jets announced on Wednesday that defenders Jordan Jenkins and Saquon Hampton will be placed on injured reserve. With visits to IR lasting at least three weeks, their seasons are effectively over.

Jenkins (shoulder) had partaken in 12 games this season, missing last weekend’s visit to Seattle. His fifth season as a Jets ends with 32 tackles, including a pair of sacks, after earning 15 quarterback takedowns over the last two seasons. The linebacker, 26, joined the team as a third-round pick (83rd overall) in 2016. He is set to become a free agent this offseason after inking a one-year, $3.75 million deal.

Hampton, 25, returned to New Jersey after starring in his native Hamilton and later in college at Rutgers. A member of the secondary and former sixth-round draft pick in New Orleans, Hampton joined the Jets in November after he part of the Saints’ final training camp cuts. He made his New York debut on Sunday in Seattle, partaking in five special team snaps before leaving with an Achilles injury.

As the Jets (0-13) prepare to partake in their final games of the season, they’ll be missing some crucial names on defense. Jenkins becomes the sixth opening day starter to not finish the year on the active roster, whether it’s through injury or transactions. His role at outside linebacker will likely be filled by rookie Jabari Zuniga, who has mostly been used as a defensive end but maintains experience from his days at Florida.

Earlier this week, the Jets partially prepared for the medical departures by signing Trevon Coley on Monday, two days after he was released by the Arizona Cardinals.

New York continues to play out the final stretches of their schedule out west, as they’ll wrap up their interconference slate on Sunday at SoFi Stadium against the Los Angeles Rams (4:05 p.m. ET, Fox).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

Buffalo Bills star acquisition Stefon Diggs: “I could be a lot better”

Stefon Diggs has reached heights few Buffalo Bills have seen before. Yet, the Orchard Park newcomer is anything but satisfied.

In the history of the Buffalo Bills, 49 men have earned at least 100 receptions. Only two have reached that landmark in a single season. Eric Moulds first set the record in 2002, adding intrigue to an otherwise meaningless season finale against a two-win squad from Cincinnati. It took Stefon Diggs 13 games with a charging buffalo on his helmet to get to triple digits.

Diggs, one of the newest players to enjoy the Western New York experience, has wasted no time in leaving a lasting impression on the Bills’ history books. Moulds may be trending over the next few weeks, if only because Diggs is set to break his single-season franchise marks. The pair are currently tied at the century-mark for the most receptions in franchise history (good enough for Diggs to lead the league entering Week 15), and Diggs will have three weeks to earn the 201 yards necessary to pass Moulds in that department.

It also helps that Diggs has saved his best performances for the Bills’ most crucial contests. When NBC’s football cameras descended upon Orchard Park for the first time since 2007, Diggs earned 130 yards on 10 receptions, one of which went for a score in the Bills’ 26-15 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Six days prior, he had 10 other receptions in a visit to Glendale, Arizona to battle the displaced San Francisco 49ers on ESPN’s Monday Night Football. 

But after the former performance, Diggs said perhaps the scariest thing an NFL defender could hear going into the postseason.

“I could be a lot better so I don’t think too much of it. I’m just trying to chase these wins,” Diggs said after his latest showing against the Steelers, per Cameron Hogwood of Sky Sports. He was keener to give credit to his offensive comrades, namely quarterback Josh Allen and offensive coordinator Brian Daboll.

“I give a lot of credit to the people around me, especially Josh Allen. Young quarterback, he put his faith and his trust in me to make plays with the ball in my hands and catching the ball. And coach Daboll, he calls the right stuff, he draws it up upstairs and puts me in the best position to make plays. Then my wide receivers coach Chad Hall, we put in a lot of work in practice. We rep a lot of stuff that is more game-like than anything.”

With Diggs in tow, the franchise quarterback Allen has taken several steps forward in his development, and Buffalo (10-3) has gone from mere playoff contender to potential division champion, one that would be a quarter-century in the making. The NFL has taken notice, as each of the Bills’ four December games will be broadcast on national airwaves. That division title can arrive when the Bills travel to Denver for the league’s traditional late-season Saturday showcase (4:30 p.m. ET, NFL Network).

A talented roster has been assembled in Orchard Park, one that many see in the postseason on a consistent basis moving forward. But many Buffalo representatives have yet to taste how sweet the playoffs can be, much of their experienced limited to cameos on the road in the wild-card rounds of 2018 (Jacksonville) and 2020 (Houston).

Who better to bring in than the star of one of the most renowned highlights in recent January memory?

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Diggs’ time as a Minnesota Viking came to an end after five seasons in March, but his time in purple was immortalized through the “Minneapolis Miracle”, the jaw-dropping 61-yard touchdown in the final seconds of the 2018 NFC divisional playoff tilt against New Orleans. Some place the video on the same playlist as the Immaculate Reception or The Catch.

With Diggs disgruntled in purple, the Bills reached out and sent over four draft picks to obtain him. One of those choices has since become Justin Jefferson, the 22nd overall pick in April’s selection meeting who is well on his way to Rookie of the Year honors.

But in a year filled with uncertainty and a team on the cusp of true contention, Bills general manager Brandon Beane wanted a surefire veteran to work with when it came to molding the offense into a fearsome unit. He knew he had that player in Diggs.

“Yes, the draft is stacked with receivers,” Beane said during the offseason, per Chris Brown of BuffaloBills.com. “But I think it became evident with what’s going on around us now, that we don’t know what kind of offseason we’ll have. I just felt like it was going to be really hard, unless I traded up really high to find a guy that I know could walk in, day one, August 1st, and be ready to roll.”

“Obviously, time will tell if this move for Stefon was right. Sometimes the best-laid plans don’t always translate, but we’re confident and that’s why we swung with a first-round pick. You know I love draft picks and that was not easy for me to part with a first-round pick, but at the same time I view (Stefon) as our first-round pick and I thought it was good for the value of getting a guy like Stefon.”

So far, the translation is crystal clear.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

BREAKING: Buffalo Bills sign GM Brandon Beane to multi-year extension

After ending the longest playoff drought in Buffalo Bills history, Beane has been locked up through a multi-year extension.

The Buffalo Bills announced on Friday that they have signed general manager Brandon Beane to a multi-year extension. Beane has been with the team since 2017.

“Brandon is an outstanding leader, and he has brought a great level of stability throughout our organization. One of the things we appreciate and respect about Brandon is that he is very thorough in his decision-making process,” Bills owners Kim and Terry Pegula said in a statement on the team website penned by Maddy Glab. “No decision he makes comes without a great deal of study and research. We appreciate his strong communication skills, and he works extremely well with us, with Sean, and with all levels of the organization. We are happy to extend his contract and to have Brandon and Sean leading our football team for many years to come.”

In his first season at the helm, Beane helped end the Bills’ franchise-long playoff drought at 17 seasons. The team has now been to the postseason in two of the past three years and is currently on pace to earn its first division title since 1995. Buffalo won 10 games for the first time since 1995 during the last campaign.

Head coach Sean McDermott offered his praises after news of Beane’s extension emerged. The two previously collaborated in Carolina, where Beane served in a variety of front office roles. McDermott served as the Panthers’ defensive coordinator for the final six years of Beane’s watch and was brought over when the latter came to Buffalo.

“I think for most GMs to have that experience on the business side of the football end of things, I really can’t envision myself working with anybody else but Brandon moving forward,” McDermott said in Glab’s statement. “For coaches, as I mentioned earlier, it’s one thing to be a good coach and develop players. But if you’re not being fed good players, it’s almost like drinking from a dry hose. That’s a hard thing to sustain over the course of time. So being fed good players, being fed players that match what we’re looking for, Brandon has done a phenomenal job. I can’t envision myself working with any other GM.”

Among Beane’s most notable Buffalo moves is the selection of quarterback Josh Allen with the seventh overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft and a trade that brought former Minnesota Viking Stefon Diggs to Buffalo. Allen is on pace for career-highs in his third season and has also garnered MVP consideration. Diggs currently leads the NFL with 90 receptions.

The Bills (9-3) return to action on Sunday night, as they battle the Pittsburgh Steelers at home (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC). In another sign of how far they’ve come under Beane’s watch, Sunday will mark the first time a Sunday night game has been staged in Orchard Park since 2007.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags