Let me first start off by saying that I want to be extremely happy for Browns fans after hearing the press conference that Jimmy Haslam held on Tuesday. I want to be positive about the Browns future. You know there’s a ‘but’ coming, right?
The announcement that two of the three stooges (Joe Banner and Mike Lombardi) are leaving the organization should be a breath of fresh air for Browns fans. I was very positive when Haslam took over the team and thought he would be the guy to turn the franchise around. Since then, Haslam hired a bunch of buffoons to help run the once proud franchise even further into the abyss.
In his press conference, Haslam said so much by saying so little while answering questions from the media who pulled no punches. What I gathered from his short responses was that he learned a lot while interviewing for a new head coach. He learned that no coach worth anything wanted to report to Joe Banner or Mike Lombardi. He learned that the perception of the Browns, within coaching circles, was that of circus side show act. They became a laughing stock, not just with the fans and media, but with his peers and other executives in the NFL. The last thing a man with his business prowess and ego wants is to be the punch line of jokes told by his peers.
One thing is for sure; Haslam looked around and figured out that he needed to streamline the franchise to make it successful. He knew that with the amount of draft picks (including two first round picks) and nearly $40 million in cap space he needed competent people who would do something of significance with it.
With that amount of cap space and the number of draft picks they have in2014 it is crucial that the Browns knock it out of the park. Haslam knew that Joe Banner and Mike Lombardi weren’t the guys to get it done. He promoted Ray Farmer as their new GM which was a great move. Farmer is well respected in NFL circles and those who know him say that he has the potential to be a great GM in this league. I know; a boat load of potential and a dollar will buy you a cup of coffee but I do think Farmer is the right guy for the job.
There have been many horrible decisions and front office moves that Haslam has made since taking over the Browns but this is not one of them. The way the front office is set up now, it actually looks like a normal NFL franchise business model.
I know I might be jumping on the bandwagon a bit too soon but this looks like news that Browns fans should be happy with. Now, we’ll see if they can get the draft and free agency right this season. With those draft picks and cap room the Browns can address a ton of needs on offense.
If they’re looking for advice I’d tell them to trade one of their first round picks for Kirk Cousins in Washington to get a competent QB in Cleveland. The second thing they need to do is draft Sammy Watkins from Clemson to be the number two WR. After that just draft some good offensive linemen. That should at least get them to 8-8 in 2014.
Browns fans are now waiting for something horrible to happen and that’s to be expected…remember, it’s the Browns. Even though I’m not a Browns fan I am cautiously optimistic that the moves Jimmy Haslam made today were very necessary and very good for this struggling organization.
Now, if he could just get the whole Pilot/Flying J thing taken care of….