Clock ticking on Doug Marrone's opt-out window from Bills


ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- With the Buffalo Bills season' over, coach Doug Marrone has a three-day window to terminate his contract as a result of the team's ownership change, sources told ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen.

Whether Marrone has any intention of using the clause, which runs through Wednesday, remains unclear.

At the Bills' season-ending news conference Monday, a question about Marrone's contract was initially blocked by a team spokesperson before Marrone decided to answer the question anyway.

"I can't answer that question," Marrone said. "I will tell you this and my background has been the same and you guys can look into. I do not discuss my contract and that's my rule. I never have and never will."

With five head-coaching vacancies around the NFL as of Monday evening, Marrone would be expected to generate interest should he decide to leave the Bills.

Here is how ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter views the situation, from his appearance Monday on Sirius XM NFL Radio with Vic Carucci and Pat Kirwan:

"Some people have suggested that he wouldn't go without having a head-coaching opportunity, to which I would say, if Doug Marrone is on the market, he doesn't have to know if there will be one: there will be one. Because when he was coming out a couple years back and interviewing along with the likes of Chip Kelly and Bill O'Brien, there were a couple of different executives that told me that they thought that Doug Marrone would be the most successful head coach of that bunch.

"If Doug Marrone were to hit the marketplace tomorrow, to me, he instantly becomes maybe the top guy on the street available for another team to hire and I think he'd get action right away. Right away.

"It's a situation where he has (to) determine what he wants to do. That's going to be his call here in the next three days. We'll see what he decides. I don't think it's a dead-lock clinch, an automatic thing that he's back in Buffalo. It's not like this clause exists and it's like, 'OK, yeah, we're fine, everything's fine and dandy and we're gonna go on.' Would it floor me if he opted out? Not at all."

"I think he's well regarded and well-respected in league circles. And again, we see the openings that exist right now: We have openings in Atlanta, we openings in Chicago, we have openings with the Jets, we may have an opening with Oakland, and there may be more. So if you think that Doug Marrone wouldn't be in serious play for one of those jobs, I think that would be a mistake."