As the calendar moves along later into December, the NFL playoff picture in both conferences begins to take shape. Unfortunately for the Cleveland Browns’ organization and their fan base, this time of year generally involves talks of transition within the franchise due to the ineptitude of the current regime. This season was no different in that way. ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Dianna Russini reported that Cleveland’s ownership fired executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown today. Brown was in charge of the Browns’ personnel department the past two years, and he had his share of failures in the NFL draft and talent acquisition process. Cleveland owner Jimmy Haslam has decided to retain head coach Hue Jackson for the 2018 season, though, courtesy of Schefter and Russini’s report.
The Browns are the only team in the league still winless, and there are many reasons for that. They’ve not had consistent success for 60 minutes of football all season long, and that is in large part due to the lack of talent on the roster. Brown was the main reason for that, as his lack of football knowledge was evident with the horrendous product put on the field. Hue Jackson has not exactly coached very well, but his hands have clearly been tied with the marginal talent he has, on the offensive side of the ball especially.
That being said, Sashi Brown has been able to acquire salary-cap space and future draft picks for the next front office in waiting, as Schefter and Russini illustrated in their report.
“The Browns have six extra picks in April’s draft — a first-round pick, two seconds, a fourth and a fifth. The Browns also have $59.25 million in cap space that they can roll over into next year, when they are already scheduled to another $38.6 million of room giving them almost $100 million in salary-cap space.”
Cleveland’s personnel could be headed by former Kansas City Chiefs general manager John Dorsey, courtesy of ESPN sources. Dorsey has had a long career in the NFL (unlike Brown, predominantly a lawyer) which included two notable stints with the Green Bay Packers, most notably as their director of scouting from 2000-2012, according to Scout.com’s Fred Greetham. He would bring much-needed credibility to a Cleveland organization that has little to none. It is uncertain whether or not Dorsey would be willing to come to Cleveland without being able to hire a new head coach, though. Nonetheless, Jackson does want to have more involvement in Cleveland’s front office personnel decision-making going forward, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
There seemed to be a major disconnect over the course of the last two seasons in that key area between Brown and Jackson, as Cleveland passed on opportunities to get both Carson Wentz and Deshaun Watson and instead traded down. As typical Cleveland luck goes, both of those players appear to be special young signal-callers. Cleveland should draft a quarterback with the 2018 first overall pick and not try to keep trading down and stockpiling future picks to avoid the problem. Drafting either USC’s Sam Darnold or UCLA’s Josh Rosen with the first overall pick would seem to be a wise decision, but it is always unclear as to what the clueless Browns will actually do. It is still unclear whether Darnold will declare for the NFL, but if he does, Jackson would be able to utilize the young QB’s athleticism on bootlegs and occasionally in read-option, or run/pass option plays. Rosen, on the other hand, would be just fine as well, as a traditional pocket QB. His ability to go through all his progressions and dictate in decision-making pre-snap is far advanced for his age.
Moreover, the Browns appear to be moving in the right direction with the inclination to add more “football guys” around Jackson, and Dorsey would appear to be a home run addition to the front office for Jimmy Haslam. The Brown experiment is over.