All-time great Peyton Manning is reportedly interested in a front office job in the NFL. In fact, your Cleveland Browns happen to be on the short list as reported by Jay Glazer. We’ve been down roads like this before, so we have to ask ourselves whether Manning even makes sense in Cleveland.
The Browns are 0-5 this season. The cries have already started to fire either Vice President of Football Operations Sashi Brown or Head Coach Hue Jackson. Of course, not everyone wants them fired. Some fans have lost faith in this regime already and some are just so sick and tired of losing that they’re willing to roll the dice yet again.
It makes me ill to recite the numbers, but here we go. The Browns have had eight regimes, nine head coaches and, counting Kevin Hogan, 28 different starting quarterbacks. The jokes we loyal Browns fans have to put up with are ridiculous. The Browns are 1-20 in their last 21 games. How much more can we take? Personally, I feel that any regime should get three years simply to establish some continuity for a change. I am so tired of starting over with a new 3-5 year plan constantly. How can anything come to fruition when it’s never seen through?
Now for a reality check. This Browns team hasn’t shown much this season. Regardless of whether you blame Hue Jackson, Greg Williams, Sashi Brown or Kenny Britt, we can all agree that something is amiss. Maybe the Browns need an offensive coordinator to call plays for Hue. Maybe they need time to grow. Maybe, just maybe, they need a football guy in the front office. I’m not talking about Ryan Grigson. I mean a guy who played the game and has been around it his whole life and has the football IQ and passion that few have.
Here’s the thing. Sashi Brown is not the general manager of the Browns. It is possible that Sashi could stay with the Browns if a GM is hired or a football man is brought in. I believe Sashi Brown and Paul DePodesta add great value from a strategic and planning stand point. Of course, if someone like Peyton Manning joins the Browns he would be the central figure in any regime and would wield the most power. He would have the authority to fire and hire in the front office and on the coaching staff.
Why would someone like Manning want to come to Cleveland? There are so many reasons that go far beyond his personal relationship with Browns owner Jimmy Haslam. The relationship with Haslam merely gets the Browns on the list. Manning wants a job where he can succeed and contrary to popular belief, Cleveland is such a place.
Look at where this team will sit headed into the offseason. The Browns are on a collision course with the first pick in the draft once again and as we all know, their draft capital for 2018 is absurd. They have thirteen picks including two in the first round and three in the second. The Browns will also have a huge amount of cap space in 2018. In addition to all of this, the only player they stand to lose as an unrestricted free agent is running back Isaiah Crowell. It’s an ideal situation for anyone to come into. It’s debatable whether anyone would see it as a better situation than exists with the Titans or Rams, the other teams believed to be options for Peyton Manning. It depend on the mark Manning wishes to make on a team.
Look at the Browns situation like this. If the Browns secure the first overall pick in the draft in 2018, Manning would have the option to take Sam Darnold, assuming he declares, or any or any of the other promising signal callers in this draft. He could also trade down a few spots if he believes Kizer is the guy. The other high picks can be used to add the additional play-makers the Browns still desperately need. There will be cap space to sign a few more quality free agents, too. It’s an inviting opportunity.
This will all come down to whether or not Manning wants to be in Cleveland and that will depend on the true nature of his relationship with Jimmy Haslam. We know they appear to be tight, but how close are they really? I think we’ll find out.
I honestly believe Sashi Brown has done a nice job so far. I just think the opportunity to bring Manning on board would be too much to pass up for Jimmy Haslam. If this happens, it will be interesting to watch the fallout. I don’t think Manning would be a guy who would let quality front office people or quality players leave just because they weren’t his guys. However, I’m sure there would be some major changes. Let’s just hope those changes would move the team forward and not put us back to square one. We’ve been there too many times already.