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Doug Marrone: Cashing In Or Cashing Out?

Doug Marrone left Buffalo in a cloud of confusion and misdirection. And now, who knows what's next for the patron saint of upstate New York football?

Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports

Warning someone you're not going to insult them is a pretty perfect way to preface an insult. No matter how you try, the entire sentence will be perceived as negative to the listener.

"Don't get mad at me, but..."

"No offense, but..."

And with that in mind: This isn't an insult, but...I don't understand why Doug Marrone has become such a commodity.

The former Syracuse head coach opted out of his contract with the Buffalo Bills last week and is now the talk of the NFL town. Franchises like the BearsFalcons and Jets have all been linked to Marrone, all apparently considering him to run their teams.

And Marrone's opting out of a contract means he A) still gets paid by the Bills for the upcoming season and B) can interview with any of those other franchises, all currently more stable than Buffalo -- which has new ownership and may hire for a position called "Football Czar." As Sean wrote last week, Marrone is probably making a fairly smart move when you look at everything on face value.

But don't think otherwise, Marrone is shooting craps with his future. Leaving Buffalo early, presupposing another franchise will hire you? I know Atlanta, Chicago and New York all are kicking his tires, but would it surprise you Marrone was left without a seat after this round of Musical NFL Coaching Chairs?

Watching Marrone jump from Syracuse to Buffalo, and now from the Bills to a presumed new team, leaves me puzzled about his most recent gamble.

Sure, maybe the two brief years in Buffalo didn't fully showcase to me what people in the National Football League seem to know when it comes to Marrone's abilities. Though, I did watch a lot of Bills games and I was never left with the impression they were on the cusp of something great. In fact, at 9-7 in 2014, you could make an argument Marrone's errors cost them one or two wins. Seriously, that Oakland game? And let's not throw too big a parade for Marrone winning that ninth game against Janeane Garofalo Jimmy Garoppolo and the Patriot Replacements in week 17.

Still, in NFL circles, Marrone's is a hot name and I guess making both Syracuse and Buffalo at least watchable for fans is something. (And trust me, I appreciate as much as anyone his work in reviving Syracuse.) Maybe in a more organized organization he'll thrive? In his time as head coach the cupboards haven't exactly been stocked with talent at either stop.

Then again, Doug Marrone had issues with the Powers That Be at Syracuse University. Doug Marrone had issues with The Powers That Be in Buffalo. Doug Marrone also seems to have problems dealing with the media, too. So, maybe Doug Marrone isn't cut out to be a head coach? I mean, isn't there a pattern here?

Or, could it be Doug Marrone may be something of a Michael Scott, the fictional character from the American adaptation of The Office? For a brief time, Scott pulled a power play by convincing his former employer that he was on the cusp of taking over the paper-business world with his own company. Of course, Scott was actually going bankrupt, but he held out long enough to fool his old bosses into buying his foundering new business and to hire him back.

Now Doug Marrone is no Michael Scott, the bumbling and stumbling leader of "Dunder Mifflin." Marrone's proven himself, if not a star coach, at the least a capable enough leader. Yet, it does seem like Marrone moves like he isn't just stepping up in the coaching ranks, it seems as though he is leaping from burning buildings, or, more aptly, burning bridges. Waiting for the perfect time then, JUMP!

On to the next thing while the getting is good, a little like Mr. Scott.

I don't think Marrone's leaping because he is afraid of being exposed as a fraudulent head coach, like Scott and his fraudulent solo success. Hell, in Syracuse, Marrone could have been in position to control when he stepped down, a rarity in coaching. But in Buffalo? Hmm.. I mean, I don't see why the Bills get back to nine wins in 2015 right now, with or without Marrone. And with new ownership and some kind of "czar" above him, wasn't Marrone really on a one-year leash? (Maybe not, though.)

And, if you go back to 2012, when Marrone started flirting with the NFL, couldn't you make the argument that he had done just about all he could with SU? It's not like the Orange was about to compete for the now-defunct BCS. His name was probably never going to be hotter, so he, according to rumor, was the one who actually reached out to teams, even before he coached in that season's Pinstripe Bowl.

Maybe he hasn't had a chance to really show his stuff, or maybe he'll find out soon enough if he is cut out for all of this after all. Or maybe he really is running from something. I haven't really been able to figure it all out. He's been so damn careful not to wear out his welcomes, or, depending on how you look at it, he has been carelessly bludgeoning his welcomes.

It's crazy what has happened to this Syracuse University alum, isn't it? This trajectory that kinds of feels like he is stumbling his way up.

Which makes that photo at the top all the more perfect, really. Marrone placing his healing hands on another troubled soul. Saint Doug without a parish yet again; never truly reaching football sainthood, though, because he hasn't stuck around anywhere long enough to be canonized. It was Orange Football for him, then the Bills for him and now...we'll see I suppose.

Regardless, I still don't get it any of it; which isn't meant to be disparaging, it's just the truth. I'm confused by all things Doug Marrone.

But we do know one thing about Doug Marrone. If called, he'll come help your football team on his terms doing things his way. Or else, and you may not like this but...he'll hit the highway.