Buffalo Bills head coach Doug Marrone shouts at an official from the sideline in the first half of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots Sunday, Dec. 28, 2014, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

There’s always at least one crazy firing in the NFL offseason. Except, Doug Marrone wasn’t really fired. He just opted out. [ Join FanDuel’s $1.75M Wild Card fantasy league: $25 to enter; top 14,530 teams paid ] Marrone is out as Buffalo Bills coach, and that was his choice. According to a statement by the Buffalo Bills just a few hours before the calendar turned to 2015, he opted out of his contract after two years as head coach. Marrone is now a free agent, and can pursue another job. Before Marrone opted out, there were five NFL head-coaching openings. Now there are six. ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen reported that Marrone walks away with his 2015 salary of $4 million “without it counting as an offset against any future salary.” The out clause in his contract activated if the Bills changed ownership, which happened when Terry Pegula bought the team. Within minutes, there was speculation that the New York Jets would have a strong interest in Marrone. The Jets’ division rivals are unexpectedly looking for a new coach. “Doug Marrone informed me late today that he has decided to exercise the option clause in his contract and relinquish his responsibilities as our head coach,” Pegula said in a statement. “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. “We will now begin the important process of conducting a thorough search for a new head coach as we continue to strive to reach our goal of returning to the playoffs and bringing a championship to Buffalo for our fans.” It’s not often you see a coach just leave on his own, and it has to be a tough blow to the ego of the Bills, who haven’t been to the playoffs since 1999. Buffalo made strides this season, finishing 9-7 and just out of the playoffs, though the retirement of quarterback Kyle Orton the day after the season ended made the 2015 outlook a little bleaker. Marrone’s time in Buffalo finishes with a 15-17 record over two seasons. Now the Bills have to start over. One would imagine Marrone has his eyes set on another opening. It’s tough to believe he walked away from one of 32 NFL headl-coaching jobs without a backup plan in place. – – – – – – – Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdowncorner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab

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