Is The Browns Front Office To Be Trusted?

How would you rank the following front office scenarios?

A.  A team president that was a former NFL general manager and a Super Bowl-winning coach. Working under him is a general manager, who for his previous team in roles of player personnel director and GM, drafted or acquired 10 Pro Bowl players.

B. A team president that formerly was a long-time vice-president of a very successful NFL franchise.  His general manager worked in various personnel departments, including with all-time great coach Bill Belichick.

C.  A general manager who was the former director of college scouting and player personnel for a Super-Bowl winning franchise who helped in drafting 10 Pro Bowl players, including one current and two likely future Hall of Famers.

D.  A team president whose previous NFL experience dealt with salary caps and negotiations, a chief strategy officer whose previous professional experience was as a baseball executive, and a 28-year old Vice President of Player Personnel who was previously a pro scouting coordinator.

On paper, I don’t know who I would rank first, second, or third, but I would definitely put option D last.  Being that these are your Cleveland Browns, choice D represents our new regime of Sashi Brown, Paul DePodesta, and Andrew Berry. (choice A was Mike Holmgren and Tom Heckert, B was Joe Banner and Mike Lombardi, and C was Phil Savage).

So, no, I definitely don’t trust our new front office.  Trust needs to be earned, so time will tell on our new Harvard-educated front office trio.  Their performance in the recent free agency frenzy did little to help their cause in the eyes of Browns’ fans.  With the current team roster appearing years away from being playoff caliber, they wisely resisted the impulse to put any overpriced players on owner Jimmy Haslam’s credit card.

But they also allowed four key starters to walk away from the franchise.  Three were understandable.  Center Alex Mack appeared ready for a change of scenery.  Wide Receiver Travis Benjamin was looking for greener offensive pastures, receiving big bucks from the Chargers.  And safety Tashaun Gibson had been battling injuries.

But the loss of right tackle Mitchell Schwartz was puzzling, to say the least.  He signed with the Chiefs at a very reasonable price.  According to several journalists, including ESPN’s Pat McManaman (, the Browns offered Schwartz at about the same as the Chiefs, if not more, but then pulled their offer once Schwartz decided to test the free agency waters.  So it appears Cleveland lost a solid 26-year old right tackle in a negotiation leverage move.

One apparent flaw of previous Browns’ regimes was the apparent ‘We are smarter than everyone else’ mentality that led to numerous puzzling and failed personnel decisions. Let’s hope this current analytics-driven front office group avoids this same trap of arrogance.

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