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Cleveland Browns: It's Time for Owner Jimmy Haslam to Put His Money Where His Mouth Is

Yahoo Contributor Network

COMMENTARY | Another day, another shakeup for the most dysfunctional franchise in the NFL.

News of the imminent departures of Cleveland Browns CEO Joe Banner and general manager Mike Lombardi broke on February 11. While Browns owner Jimmy Haslam claimed that these changes were necessary to streamline Cleveland's hierarchy, there are likely other factors that haven't surfaced yet as to why the pair were let go.

At a press conference announcing the changes, Haslam said all the right things regarding the Browns going forward. Now is the time for the almost over-confident owner to make those things happen.

Cleveland's 2013 season almost looks like a complete waste of time at this moment. Along with the departures of Banner and Lombardi, head coach Rob Chudzinski is gone, and the two quarterbacks that started 13 games last season -- Jason Campbell and Brandon Weeden -- may well be on their way out of town as well. The only thing that the Browns learned in 2013 is that they have some great individual players, and no real leadership to tie all that talent together.

Haslam praised the former front office duo for clearing out salary cap space for the Browns to utilize this offseason. That being said, it's time for Haslam to put his money where his mouth is. Cleveland is being projected to have over $50 million in salary cap room to play with in the coming months.

Job one for Haslam needs to be to re-sign center Alex Mack and safety T.J. Ward. Both players made the Pro Bowl in 2013, and Ward brought an intensity to Cleveland's defense that had not been seen in way too long.

Priority number two is to sign some decent free agents. The Browns do not have to hit a home run in free agency, but Cleveland absolutely has to improve the depth of the roster if they have any real plans of returning to respectability in 2014. Players such as wide receiver James Jones of the Green Bay Packers and Ben Tate of the Houston Texans would certainly help solve some of the positional issues that the Browns have.

Haslam is fond of the phrase, "Talk is cheap, and actions speak louder than words", invoking it first during the press conference announcing the hiring of head coach Mike Pettine, and again while talking to the press on February 11.

Maybe it's time for Haslam to start adhering to his own maxim, because his actions thus far have left a lot to be desired for Browns fans.

Shaun Heidrick is a Yahoo Contributor who has followed the Cleveland Browns for over 25 years.

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