North Notes: Browns, Austin, Wolf

Browns head coach Mike Pettine and GM Ray Farmer will not both be back with the team next season, according to Ian Rapoport of (article via Conor Orr of Pettine had hinted at some discord between the Cleveland front office and coaching staff last week, but apparently the situation is more toxic than originally believed.

According to Rapoport, the coaching staff believes the scouting department does not provide the team enough information to effectively execute the game plan, and the scouting department believes the coaching staff does not effectively utilize its personnel. Neither the front office nor the coaches, of course, are without fault. Farmer has blown two consecutive drafts, which has hamstrung Pettine’s efforts quite a bit, but Pettine has not been an especially savvy in-game strategist and has failed to establish the hard-nosed, defensive-minded mentality he promised when he was hired. If owner Jimmy Haslam chooses to keep one of the Pettine/Farmer duo, the smart money may be on Pettine, but it seems clear that at least one of those men will be out of a job at the end of the season, and perhaps both will be looking for a new position.

Let’s take a look at some more notes from the league’s north divisions:

  • Although Kyle Meinke of believes Lions head coach Jim Caldwell‘s fate is sealed–no one believes he will return to Detroit next season–the futures of defensive coordinator Teryl Austin and offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter are more uncertain. Austin, for the second season in a row, has done an excellent job leading the Lions’ defense, and although Cooter has less of a track record, he has successfully turned around an offense that crashed and burned under Joe Lombardi. If Austin does not get a head coaching position this offseason–he could even wind up as the Lions’ head coach–he is certainly a viable candidate to return as DC, and Meinke believes Cooter is deserving of an extended look as OC.
  • Though Austin will be a candidate for the Lions‘ head coaching position, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes that current Bears OC Adam Gase will be a “top target” for the club.
  • Packers pro personnel director Eliot Wolf is a hot name among teams searching for a GM this offseason, but per La Canfora, it is highly unlikely Wolf will be leaving Green Bay. Wolf, who has steadily risen through the ranks of the Packers organization, is seen as the heir apparent to current GM Ted Thompson, and he would be exceedingly selective if he were to consider any position outside of Green Bay. La Canfora’s report does not come as much of a surprise, as Wolf has been a popular GM candidate for several years now.
  • Although Steelers tackle Mike Adams is technically in the final year of his rookie contract, he will remain under club control in 2016, according to Mark Kaboly of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Adams was placed on the PUP list before the start of training camp, he never returned to the active roster, and he was not removed from the PUP list, which means that his contract will be tolled and he will be back with Pittsburgh in 2016 at the same salary he earned in 2015 (roughly $873K). Adams could still hit the open market if the Steelers choose to cut him, of course, but given the team’s lack of depth at tackle, Kaboly does not see that as a real option.
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