It was hard to go very long this season without some reminder that the Cleveland Browns, stuck in a winless season, traded the picks that became quarterbacks Carson Wentz and Deshaun Watson.
The man who led the Browns front office the past two years, executive vice president Sashi Brown, paid for the Browns’ miserable 0-12 season on Thursday. He was fired, according to ESPN. The Browns won’t have a total overhaul, however. Owner Jimmy Haslam said in a statement that coach Hue Jackson will return for 2018.
It seems that Jackson won a power struggle.
Statement from Owner Jimmy Haslam: pic.twitter.com/xi571AaajE
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) December 7, 2017
The Browns were stuck in a tough spot. They need to be patient with one of these regimes they hire. They have had a revolving door at GM and head coach. But they’re 1-27 the past two seasons. It’s hard to be patient when there are no signs of progress on the field this season. It’s even tougher to be patient when Wentz and Watson became almost instant stars at quarterback, and the Browns have been searching for a quarterback since re-entering the NFL in 1999. At least the Browns are sticking with their head coach, for better or worse.
However, Brown had done some good things, and his work will make the GM job appealing for potential candidates (Ian Rapoport of NFL Network said the team has already been vetting candidates including former Kansas City Chiefs GM John Dorsey).
First, the bar is low in Cleveland. There won’t be much pressure. Also, he Browns have a ton of picks stockpiled after moving down repeatedly in each of the last two drafts. Those picks will join a team with a lot of intriguing young talent, including three first-round picks from this year’s draft. Even after spending a bit of money last offseason, the Browns are still one of two teams (with the San Francisco 49ers) who are projected to have more than $100 million in cap space next offseason according to Spotrac. And, of course, the Browns are practically a lock to get the No. 1 overall pick with some interesting quarterbacks in the class. Cleveland is two games behind the New York Giants and 49ers, who are tied for the second-worst record in the league.
For all the criticism of the Browns, a new GM can step in with a solid foundation and build the rest of the team in his image with all those draft picks and a ton of cap space.
Brown set up the next front office pretty well. He probably wanted to see his plan through, because it was easy to see how it could take shape. But 1-27 just doesn’t play well in the parity-driven NFL. Brown did some good things, made some mistakes, and now Cleveland will set out to find the next executive who can possibly finish the job Brown started.
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