Buddy Nix's legacy with Bills up in the air

There are two names that immediately come to mind when I think of Buddy Nix's tenure as Buffalo Bills general manager: Mario Williams and EJ Manuel.

Williams, who signed a $100 million contract in 2012, was by far Nix’s biggest free-agent signing. Manuel, a first-round pick in April's draft, is Nix’s most important draft pick. Until the fates of these two players are determined in Buffalo, it's difficult to fully gauge Nix’s impact in Buffalo.

Nix is stepping down as general manager Monday after three years with the Bills. It is a move that’s been in the works for months as Nix, 73, transitions to a less demanding phase of his career.

The tangible evidence so far doesn't look good for Nix. It's easy to point to Buffalo's 16-32 record during his three-year tenure. You can also look at Nix's failed hire of former Bills head coach Chan Gailey. Those are two clear blemishes on Nix's record in Buffalo.

Manuel and Williams could also be huge blemishes that would make Nix's run as GM in Buffalo a complete disaster. But if Manuel turns out to be a franchise quarterback who turns the Bills into a perennial playoff contender, and Williams plays up to his capabilities for the duration of his contract, Nix’s era in Buffalo will be viewed through a much brighter lens.

Until then, Nix’s three-year legacy with the Bills is still to be determined.