Buffalo Bills sign free agent cornerback Shareece Wright

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) The Buffalo Bills signed veteran free agent cornerback Shareece Wright on Monday, and also began their search to replace Doug Whaley, a day after the general manager was fired.

A person familiar with the search process confirmed to The Associated Press that the Bills have sought the Carolina Panthers' permission to interview assistant general manager Brandon Beane. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the Bills are not publicly discussing their search.

ESPN first reported the Bills' request.

Beane is immediately regarded as a natural fit to work with Bills rookie coach Sean McDermott because of their past ties to the Panthers. McDermott spent the previous six years as Carolina's defensive coordinator before being hired by Buffalo to replace Rex Ryan, who was fired in the final week of last season.

The Bills completed an offseason front-office overhaul on Sunday, when Whaley and the team's entire scouting staff was fired a day after the NFL draft.

The 39-year-old Beane has spent 19 years with the Panthers, and served as the team's interim general manager before current GM Dave Gettleman was hired in 2013.

In the meantime, the Bills signed Wright to add experienced depth to their young secondary, which includes LSU cornerback Tre'Davious White , who was selected in the first round of the NFL draft last week.

Wright was undeterred by White being selected with the 27th pick. He said the Bills had informed him of their intention to choose a cornerback in conversations the two sides had before the draft.

''Cornerback and the secondary are one of those things that you can have three or four corners on the field at one time,'' Wright said during a telephone conference call. ''I felt that it was a great opportunity for me to come here and add my veteran leadership to this defense.''

Wright has six years of NFL experience and had 15 starts in 23 games with Baltimore over the two previous seasons. The Southern California product was selected by San Diego in the third round of the 2011 draft. He had 27 starts in 44 games over four seasons with the Chargers.

Listed at 5-foot-11 and 182 pounds, Wright has just one interception.

The Bills secondary was depleted this offseason. Buffalo lost starting cornerback Stephon Gilmore and primary backup Nickell Robey-Coleman in free agency. They also released both starting safeties, Corey Graham and Aaron Williams, and replaced them by signing Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer in free agency.

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AP Sports Writer Steve Reed in Charlotte, North Carolina, contributed to this report.

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