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Doug Marrone decides to opt out of contract with Bills

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Every year, there is one surprising head coaching change. It took a few extra days, but we have a stunner now.

The Buffalo Bills announced Wednesday that coach Doug Marrone has opted out of his contract. And he could be staying in the AFC East. The Jets are the favorite to land him, according to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport.

Per NFL Media's Albert Breer, Marrone sent out a mass text to his team on Wednesday after the news broke informing them of the move, offering to call if any needed anything.

Expect the Jets to show "considerable interest" in Marrone, who likely wouldn't leave a head coaching job without great options. New York interviewed assistant Anthony Lynn on Wednesday, fulfilling the terms of the Rooney Rule. They can strike for Marrone at any time.

"We are disappointed that coach Marrone will no longer be an important part of our organization. We thank him for all of his hard work and leadership during his tenure and wish him and his family the best with the next chapter in their lives," new Bills owner Terry Pegula said in a statement.

Frank Reich is one name to watch in the Bills coaching search. The Bills have yet to decide if they will bring in a football czar -- Bill Polian and Mike Holmgren are two options. Marrone -- who gets $4 million as part of his opt-out -- wasn't comfortable with the idea, according to Rapoport.

It's a devastating blow for the Bills after their first winning season in a decade. The last coach to have a winning record there, Mike Mularkey, also left the team in mysterious circumstances. Marrone had a three-day opt-out clause in his contract because of the team's recent ownership change. Bills team president Russ Brandon had been forced to downplay reports of a conflict between Marrone and the front office.

Marrone, according to Rapoport, was in line to receive a lucrative contract extension from the Bills, as was his wish. What spooked the coach out of town was the uncertainty that went with a new front-office official entering the mix.

It's a little surprising that Marrone has so many options and leverage after going 15-17 the last two years in Buffalo. Rapoport reported that Marrone raised his stock considerably following a season in which he led the Bills to their best record in a decade amid ownership transition, a massive snowstorm that displaced the team and continued instability at the quarterback position.

The team's defense under coordinator Jim Schwartz was among the league's best, and they managed to manufacture offense despite the quarterback position.

Bills defensive back Aaron Williams tweeted after hearing the news that he "lost all respect" for Marrone. But the relative unknown former Syracuse coach exercised a remarkably forward thinking option in his contract, and it's hard to imagine he doesn't have a great option waiting for him.

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