Andrew Berry

Browns Announce Front Office Moves

New Browns GM Andrew Berry announced a series of additions, promotions, and title changes on his player personnel staff today.

The entire list can be found here, courtesy of the team’s official website. Some of the moves, like the hiring of Kwesi Adofo-Mensah as vice president of football operations and the addition of former Colts GM Ryan Grigson, have been reported previously.

Grigson, though, finally has a formal title: senior football advisor. He and Berry have a long-standing professional relationship, but Berry said his familiarity with Grigson is not the reason he was brought on board. “[Grigson] is here because I think he is very good,” Berry said. “He has a very established track record as a personnel evaluator from his time in St. Louis at the time, Philly and then obviously, Indianapolis. General Manager experience, rebuilt the Colts into a winner very quickly, Executive of the Year. And that is something that is valuable to me.”

Adofo-Mensah, who spent seven years with the 49ers, will be a part of all roster and strategy decisions and will also assist Berry with day-to-day operations (he is essentially the assistant GM). “I think [Adofo-Mensah] brings a nice blend of both an insider and an outsider perspective to football,” Berry said. “He is humble, high integrity, a continuous learner, true growth mindset and he has fantastic interpersonal and people skills … I think he is really a perfect fit to add to the mix.”

Meanwhile, former assistant director of scouting Glenn Cook, who has been with the Browns since 2016, has been promoted to vice president of player personnel. He will lead the day-to-day operations of the player personnel department, and as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets, Cook will also be in charge of college and pro scouting. He will be assisted by Dan Saganey, the new director of player personnel.

Of course, there are also a number of new-age, analtyics positions. Nate Sterken will serve as the new lead data scientist, Andrew Jackson is the data architect, and Ken Kovash is the vice president of player personnel process and development. Berry has been lauded for the work he has done in his first few months on the job, and his roster looks like one that could compete for a playoff spot in 2020. Today’s moves are another step towards his putting his stamp on the organization.

Longest-Tenured GMs In The NFL

When we ran down the longest-tenured head coaches in the NFL, we found that less than half of the league’s current coaches have been in their positions for more than three years. That’s not quite the case with general managers, but there have been plenty of changes in recent years.

A handful of general managers have gotten to take their coats off and stay for a long while. Among coaches, Bill Belichick had joined his team prior to 2003. Here, you’ll see that five GMs have been with their teams since before ’03 (Belichick, of course, is also on this list). Two of those five – Jerry Jones and Mike Brown – are outliers, since they’re team owners and serve as de facto GMs. But the Patriots, Steelers, and Saints, have all had the same general managers making their roster decisions for well over a decade.

Here’s the complete list of the NFL’s longest-tenured GMs, along with the date they took over the job:

  1. Jerry Jones (Dallas Cowboys): April 18, 1989[1]
  2. Mike Brown (Cincinnati Bengals): August 5, 1991[2]
  3. Bill Belichick (New England Patriots): January 27, 2000[3]
  4. Kevin Colbert (Pittsburgh Steelers): February 18, 2000[4]
  5. Mickey Loomis (New Orleans Saints): May 14, 2002
  6. Rick Spielman (Minnesota Vikings): May 30, 2006[5]
  7. Thomas Dimitroff (Atlanta Falcons): January 13, 2008
  8. John Schneider (Seattle Seahawks): January 19, 2010[6]
  9. Howie Roseman (Philadelphia Eagles): January 29, 2010
  10. John Elway (Denver Broncos): January 5, 2011[7]
  11. Les Snead (St. Louis Rams): February 10, 2012
  12. David Caldwell (Jacksonville Jaguars): January 8, 2013
  13. Steve Keim (Arizona Cardinals): January 8, 2013
  14. Tom Telesco (San Diego Chargers): January 9, 2013
  15. Jason Licht (Tampa Bay Buccaneers): January 21, 2014
  16. Ryan Pace (Chicago Bears): January 8, 2015
  17. Chris Grier (Miami Dolphins): January 4, 2016
  18. Bob Quinn (Detroit Lions): January 8, 2016
  19. Jon Robinson (Tennessee Titans): January 14, 2016
  20. John Lynch (San Francisco 49ers): January 29, 2017
  21. Chris Ballard (Indianapolis Colts): January 30, 2017
  22. Brandon Beane (Buffalo Bills): May 9, 2017
  23. Brett Veach (Kansas City Chiefs): July 11, 2017
  24. Marty Hurney (Carolina Panthers): July 19, 2017
  25. Dave Gettleman (New York Giants): December 28, 2017
  26. Brian Gutekunst (Green Bay Packers): January 7, 2018
  27. Mike Mayock (Oakland Raiders): December 31, 2018
  28. Joe Douglas (New York Jets): June 7, 2019
  29. Eric DeCosta (Baltimore Ravens): January 7, 2019[8]
  30. Ron Rivera (Washington Redskins): January 1, 2020[9]
  31. Andrew Berry (Cleveland Browns): January 27, 2020
  32. Bill O’Brien (Houston Texans): January 28, 2020

Footnotes:

  1. Jones has been the Cowboys’ de facto general manager since former GM Tex Schramm resigned in April 1989.
  2. Brown has been the Bengals’ de facto GM since taking over as the team’s owner in August 1991.
  3. Belichick has been the Patriots’ de facto GM since shortly after being hired as the team’s head coach in January 2000.
  4. Colbert was initially hired as the team’s director of football operations and received the newly-created general manager title in 2011.
  5. Spielman was initially hired as the team’s VP of player personnel and received the GM title in 2012.
  6. While Schneider holds the title of GM, head coach Pete Carroll has the final say on roster moves for the Seahawks.
  7. Elway was initially hired as the team’s executive VP of football operations and received the GM title in 2014.
  8. In 2018, the Ravens announced that DeCosta would replace Ozzie Newsome as GM for Ozzie Newsome after the conclusion of the season. The Ravens’ ’18 season ended with their Wild Card loss to the Chargers on 1/6/19.
  9. Technically, the Redskins do not have a GM, as of this writing. Rivera is, effectively, their GM, working in tandem with Vice President of Player Personnel Kyle Smith. Smith may receive the GM title in the near future.

Browns Execs On Garrett, Vernon, OBJ

Even after the initial waves of free agency and the NFL Draft, the Browns’ work is far from done, GM Andrew Berry says.

We have four or five months until the fall until we start playing games and then probably another six (weeks) until the trade deadline, so there are plenty of opportunities to continue to improve the roster and we’re going to be on the lookout for that over the next few months again if opportunities present themselves,’’ Berry told SiriusXM recently (via Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer). “We’re always going to look to be opportunistic across the roster and if there’s something that makes sense, we’ll see if we can attack and improve the team.’’

With lots of notable names left in free agency and on the trade block, Berry has lots of options. Could those options include a certain former No. 1 overall pick? Here’s what Berry and head coach Kevin Stefanski have to say about that and more, via Cabot:

Berry on Olivier Vernon, whose presence could take the Browns out of the Jadeveon Clowney running:

Olivier is a good football player, and we like having good football players on the roster. He’s a talented defensive end. He is here and will continue to be here.”

Berry on a potential extension for Myles Garrett, who had his fifth-year option exercised for 2021:

We do see Myles as a long-term member and pillar in our organization. Great player, great person. Obviously, he did make a mistake last year that he’s learned from. But our confidence in and faith in Myles has not wavered and we’re looking to seeing what he does this year and certainly for years to come.’’ (via 105.7 The Fan)

Stefanski on Odell Beckham Jr., who is firmly in the team’s plans:

We’re a better team with him on the field…Odell is one of the guys I was fortunate enough to sit down with before all this stuff kind of went sideways, so we sat down and talked about a bunch of things. One of the things we talked about is how he’s going to factor in this offense, and I showed him a bunch of tape from the previous Vikings year, I showed him tape from his Giants years, and just my vision for what he’s going to be capable of doing in this offense.” (via 92.3 The Fan)

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Brady, Browns, Chargers

There’s been a lot of Tom Brady talk over the past week, and it’s hard to determine what’s real. While there was one report that Brady was planning on moving on, it appears to still very much be up in the air whether he returns to the Patriots next season. One thing is for certain though, and that’s that there are a number of potential suitors who are interested should he not go back to New England. One interesting factor is that Brady will apparently have to take less money if he wants to stay with the Pats, as Jeff Howe of The Athletic reports that New England will “almost certainly not be the highest bidder” when free agency opens.

The Patriots are apparently waiting for the new CBA situation to play out, as that would impact how they would structure any potential Brady extension. But as Howe points out, that “doesn’t explain why the Patriots haven’t at least initiated significant discussions” with Brady’s reps. Howe also writes that the two sides “haven’t had any talks of substance” about a new deal. Buzz started to heat up at the combine this past week, and we should know a lot more about Brady’s future soon.

Here’s more from around the:

  • Andrew Berry is running the Browns’ front office now, and he’s getting paid handsomely. Cleveland gave the 32-year-old around $3.3MM a year to be their new GM, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. La Canfora writes that figure has a “lot of his peers around the league excited,” since it’s a big number for a first-time GM. Executive salaries across the league are increasing, and it sounds like they could take off even more in the coming years. As La Canfora points out, the Browns are still paying Berry’s predecessor John Dorsey, who they fired earlier this offseason.
  • The Eagles have had a mountain of injuries the past few years, and they parted ways with director of high performance Shaun Huls at least partially as a result. Huls is now landing on his feet, as the Browns are hiring him to the same role, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network (Twitter link). Huls had spent the past seven seasons in Philadelphia.
  • The Chargers are becoming the latest team to emphasize the importance of analytics in their front office. Los Angeles hired Aditya Krishnan away from Cleveland to become their director of analytics, according to Seth Walder of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Walder notes that the Chargers didn’t have any analytics employees prior to hiring Krishnan, and it’ll be interesting to see if this is the start of a new department to report to GM Tom Telesco. Krishnan had previously served as an analyst with the Browns.

Latest On Browns’ DE Olivier Vernon

Browns defensive end Olivier Vernon came to the team last year as part of the trade that brought WR Odell Beckham to Cleveland. Vernon is under contract through 2020, but his future with the Browns is uncertain at the moment.

Advanced metrics were reasonably fond of Vernon’s play during his first year with the Browns — though he posted just 3.5 sacks — but he is due a hefty $15.25MM salary next season. Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com says the Browns are not going to pay him that much, so he will either be released or asked to take a pay cut.

And the Browns do have plenty of leverage to demand a pay reduction. Vernon will almost certainly not fetch a deal on the open market that would pay him $15.25MM next year, and Cleveland can clear that entire figure off its books with no dead money penalty by cutting him. Plus, although Vernon did earn a Pro Bowl nod with the Giants in 2018, he has not played a full 16-game slate since 2016. He has missed at least four games in each of the past three years due to various injuries.

But cutting Vernon would leave a noticeable void in the team’s front seven, so a reworked deal may be the best course of action for both sides. If the Browns do part ways with the Miami product, Cabot says Everson Griffen, who recently opted out of his deal with the Vikings, could be a potential replacement. Griffen and new Cleveland HC Kevin Stefanski are obviously familiar with each other from their time in Minnesota.

In other Browns news, Cabot says she expects new GM Andrew Berry to use his extra draft capital to pursue trades for big-name players and that the team will scour the trade and free agent markets for offensive tackles.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Browns Hire Ryan Grigson

Ryan Grigson has joined the Browns and is currently serving in an advisory and consulting role with the team, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter). Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com adds that Grigson will likely be hired on a full-time basis after this year’s draft.

Grigson is best known for his tenure as the Colts’ general manager from 2012-16. He earned Executive of the Year honors following his first year at the helm, which saw Indianapolis make the playoffs after going 2-14 the year before (though much of that was due to the presence of rookie QB Andrew Luck, who was a slam-dunk choice for Grigson in his first draft with Indy). While the Colts went 49-31 during Grigson’s five years as GM, they failed to qualify for the playoffs in the final two of those years, and his draft record as a whole was spotty.

He was therefore dismissed in January 2017, and he hooked on with the Browns shortly thereafter. When GM John Dorsey came to town in 2018, he got rid of Grigson, but now Andrew Berry is the Cleveland GM, and he is bringing Grigson back. The two men are very close and hold each other in high regard, per Albert Breer of SI.com (via Twitter). Berry worked under Grigson for four years in Indianapolis, and Grigson worked under Berry with the Browns in 2017, so there is plenty of familiarity there.

Breer adds in a separate tweet that the Browns plan to structure their front office like the Eagles, with one executive heading up scouting, one heading up everything else on the football side of the operation, and both reporting to the GM. Grigson could factor into that framework, especially with his scouting background.

Grigson spent the past two seasons with the Seahawks as a senior football consultant.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Browns Rumors: Berry, OBJ, Landry, Van Pelt

The Browns dominated last year’s NFL offseason storylines. After their strong finish to the 2018 season, lead executive John Dorsey made a number of aggressive moves, highlighted by the acquisition of Odell Beckham Jr. However, while that momentum led them to be a pundit favorite to win their division and potentially reach the Super Bowl, those predictions never came close to fruition. They finished the season 6-10 and moved on from Dorsey and rookie head coach Freddie Kitchens.

New general manager Andrew Berry though, seemed to suggest he will at least follow Dorsey in his willingness to make bold moves. In her weekly mailbag, Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com noted that Berry was clear in his introductory press conference that he was looking to be aggressive and would not shy away from big moves.

Here are more notes from around the Browns organization:

  • Jay Glazer of The Athletic does not expect Cleveland to make any moves to unload either Beckham or Jarvis Landry this offseason. Glazer noted that new head coach Kevin Stefanski would likely want as many offensive weapons as possible given his focus on offense. Glazer did note that both Beckham and Landry have to be invested in Stefanski for that to work. He could still see a trade occurring if they are unwilling to buy-in.
  • Cleveland has yet to announce if there will be a quarterbacks coach on Stefanski’s staff. In a separate part of her mailbag, Mary Kay Cabot suggested there is a pretty good chance that offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt will serve the dual role as coordinator and QB coach considering his lengthy experience at that position.

Browns GM On OBJ, Hunt, Free Agency

On Wednesday, the Browns formally introduced old friend and new GM Andrew Berry to the media. Here’s a look at some of the highlights from his presser:

  • It sounds like running back Kareem Hunt will have an opportunity to move forward with the Browns, despite his latest misstep. “With Kareem, we’ve communicated our expectations for him moving forward,” Berry said (via Jeff Risdon of USA Today). “We want guys who are going to be smart, tough, and accountable on and off the field. Kareem understands that.” Hunt, who was cut by the Chiefs after a video showed him shoving and kicking a woman at a Cleveland hotel, was recently found with marijuana and vodka after being pulled over by cops. The Browns can retain Hunt via the restricted free agent tender or negotiate a new deal with him, but it seems unlikely that they’ll want to make a long-term commitment to him at this time.
  • Berry offered similar thoughts regarding Odell Beckham Jr., though he noted that both he and Hunt will have to fit into the Browns’ “culture in terms of being smart, tough and accountable.” The GM says that both he and head coach Kevin Stefanski have chatted with Beckham, an indication that they’re all on the same page. OBJ reportedly wanted out of Cleveland towards the end of the season, but we recently heard that the Browns’ new regime has every intention of keeping him. OBJ had “just” 1,035 yards in a down year, but the Browns believe that he can get back to his old form in short order.
  • Berry says the Browns plan to “aggressively add talent” this offseason (via 92.3 The Fan). With roughly $50MM in available cap room, the GM will have opportunities to spend in March before he makes his pick at No. 10 overall in April.

AFC North Notes: Berry, Ravens, Mixon

Let’s take a quick swing around the AFC North:

  • The Browns hired former Eagles’ VP of Football Operations Andrew Berry to be their GM and EVP of Football Operations today, and he will report directly to owner Jimmy Haslam, just like new head coach Kevin Stefanski and chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta. However, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk thinks it’s fair to wonder whether Berry will really have final say over roster decisions, as his contract says he will. Of course, in order to pry Berry away from Philadelphia, Cleveland needed to give him such power contractually, but whether Berry will be permitted to fully use that power is another story. Stefanski and DePodesta may not be keen on consistently yielding to Berry, who was probably the team’s No. 2 choice behind Vikings exec George Paton.
  • In 2019, the Ravens made a number of in-season signings to bolster their defense that ended up paying major dividends. Baltimore has already inked one such acquisition, L.J. Fort, to a two-year extension, and Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic believes the club could also look to re-sign OLB/DE Jihad Ward and DT Justin Ellis.
  • Many have noted the Ravens‘ need to add pass rushing talent, and much of that discussion has focused on edge rushers. But in the same piece, Zrebiec says Baltimore will think long and hard about selecting a quality pass-rushing interior defensive lineman if one is available near the end of the first round. The Ravens haven’t really had such a player since the heyday of Haloti Ngata.
  • Paul Dehner Jr. of The Athletic lays out a number of moves he believes the Bengals should make this offseason. The entire piece is worth a read for Cincy fans, but one move that Dehner thinks is especially likely to come to fruition is an extension for running back Joe Mixon. We recently heard that director of player personnel Duke Tobin would explore a new contract for his RB1, and such a deal won’t be cheap.

Browns Hire Andrew Berry As GM

It’s a done deal. On Monday, the Browns officially hired Eagles’ VP of Football Operations Andrew Berry to be their GM and EVP of Football Operations. The Browns will announce the news this afternoon with a full-blown press conference to come next week.

[RELATED: George Paton Out Of Browns’ GM Search]

Berry was ID’d as a top candidate for the job soon after the Browns parted ways with John Dorsey. Berry spent years as a part of the Browns’ braintrust before moving on to Philly and his relationship with owner Jimmy Haslam ultimately led to a deal.

Still, the Browns considered other candidates along the way. Vikings exec George Paton might have been the favorite for the job after the interview process. But, last week, he removed his name from consideration.

Paton was reportedly unsure about how the Browns would divvy up power. Berry, apparently, doesn’t share the same level of concern. He’ll report directly to owner Jimmy Haslam, along with new head coach Kevin Stefanski and chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta. The Browns operated that way during the Sashi BrownHue Jackson years, so Berry is at least familiar with that arrangement.

Berry studied and played football at Harvard before moving on to scouting and front office positions with the Colts, Browns, and Eagles. Now, at the age of 32, he’ll get to run his own show.

Berry will inherit a talented roster, plus a projected $50MM in cap room for the upcoming offseason. He’ll also have the No. 10 overall pick to work with, thanks to the Browns’ disappointing 6-10 finish in 2019.