John Dorsey

Browns Considering Mike McCarthy-Eliot Wolf Pairing

Despite John Dorsey and the Browns parting ways, assistant GM Eliot Wolf remains in his position. And the Browns are considering pairing him with another former Packers coworker.

Mike McCarthy will be the Browns’ first HC interview, with Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer noting the longtime Green Bay coach will meet with the Browns on Thursday. The Browns, who have gone through numerous front office structures under Jimmy Haslam, are considering a McCarthy-Wolf power structure, Cabot adds.

Wolf was in Green Bay for each of McCarthy’s nine playoff appearances as Packers coach, working with the Packers from 2004-17. The final four of those years featured Wolf as either the Packers’ director of player personnel or director of football operations. The second-generation NFL executive left for Cleveland in 2018, when former Packers exec Dorsey joined as Browns GM. The Browns appear to be considering a promotion for the son of Hall of Fame exec Ron Wolf. Eliot Wolf has interviewed for GM jobs in the past, and he may be back on the radar — despite the latest upheaval at Browns headquarters.

McCarthy, 56, has already interviewed with the Panthers and will meet with the Giants this weekend. He was on the Browns’ radar during the 2019 hiring period but did not meet with team brass. The Browns ended the 2010s with seven head coaches and are obviously hoping for some semblance of stability entering the next decade.

Several other candidates are on the Browns’ HC radar. Josh McDaniels, Eric Bieniemy, Greg Roman, Kevin Stefanski and 49ers assistants Robert Saleh, Mike McDaniel and Matt LaFleur. Baylor head coach Matt Rhule turned down the opportunity to interview with the Browns.

Cleveland’s next head coach may need to make a greater commitment to analytics, with Cabot adding that Browns chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta is planning to incorporate more analytical concepts into the team’s game plans. This blueprint did not appear to be a hit with Dorsey or Freddie Kitchens, with a source informing Cabot it only complicated matters further for an “in over his head” Kitchens.

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Latest On Browns’ Front Office

The Browns’ disappointing season produced the firing of Freddie Kitchens and prompted Jimmy Haslam to approach John Dorsey about stripping his power. That led to the constantly retooling franchise having another GM vacancy. The Haslams confirmed the 2019 Browns’ underachievement helped lead to Dorsey departing.

While John helped greatly improve our team’s talent and we are excited about the core players on our roster, we fully recognized that our team did not meet its potential on or off the field and additional changes in leadership give us the best opportunity for success in the future,” Jimmy and Dee Haslam said in a statement. “As the role of the general manager continues to evolve in this league we felt there were areas that needed to be reassessed. Over the last 48 hours, we’ve had discussion with John about his role but could not come to an agreement on a position that would enable him to remain with the organization.”

The Browns have now gone through five GMs or de facto GMs during Haslam’s seven-plus-year tenure. They will be looking for No. 6, along with a seventh head coach under current ownership.

Here is the latest on the state of the Browns’ front office:

  • It is not certain Browns chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta will survive a second regime change during his tenure, but that looks to be the case. Former football operations boss Sashi Brown‘s right-hand man, DePodesta stayed on during Dorsey’s run and is now playing a key role helping Jimmy Haslam find the Browns’ next head coach. The former MLB GM is taking a “very heavy hand” in Cleveland’s latest coaching search, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes (video link).
  • DePodesta, however, is not necessarily in charge. The fourth-year executive is not currently running the football operation, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. This does beg the question as to who exactly is running things at this point.
  • Top responsibility may now fall on assistant GM Eliot Wolf. Although Wolf came aboard shortly after Dorsey did and worked with Dorsey in Green Bay as well, the second-generation NFL exec is still a part of Cleveland’s front office, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets. That could certainly change soon, once a new GM or head coach with GM powers arrives in Berea.
  • Dorsey received a nice exit package from the Browns. The two-time NFL GM will walk away with two years’ severance, according to Pelissero (on Twitter). This marks the second time in three years Dorsey will be on the market, with the Chiefs having fired him during the summer of 2017.

Browns Fire GM John Dorsey

That’s a wrap for John Dorsey. On Tuesday, the Browns and Dorsey agreed to part ways, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets

Dorsey and owner Jimmy Haslam met on Tuesday afternoon to discuss potential options for moving forward. Reportedly, Haslam was considering a scenario in which Dorsey would stay on board in a restructured front office. That did not work for Dorsey, an executive with decades of experience who has become accustomed to doing things his way.

The Browns hired Dorsey near the end of the 2017 season after firing Sashi Brown. Brown was widely criticized for his decisions in Cleveland, but his future-minded strategy tee’d up Dorsey with tons of fiscal flexibility and draft picks. In two seasons at the helm, Dorsey has not been able to translate those assets into wins. The Browns improved from 0-16 in 2017 (because there’s only one way to go from there), but they only managed a 7-8-1 record in 2018 and a 6-10 mark this year.

On the plus side – Dorsey is responsible for bringing in the likes of quarterback Baker Mayfield, cornerback Denzel Ward, receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, and defensive notables Sheldon Richardson and Olivier Vernon. Dorsey hasn’t been perfect, and his selection of Freddie Kitchens as the team’s head coach obviously didn’t pan out, but one could argue that Dorsey has been given a raw deal and not enough time to right the ship.

What’s next for the Browns is anyone’s guess. The club could give more power to chief strategist Paul DePodesta, who transitioned from baseball to football to become one of Haslam’s top consiglieres. Old friend Andrew Berry – who currently serves as Eagles VP of football operations – could also garner consideration for the GM job.

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Browns, John Dorsey To Part Ways?

The Browns and GM John Dorsey are “leaning towards” parting ways today, sources tell Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com (on Twitter). However, Schefter cautions that the situation is “fluid and not final.” 

[RELATED: Browns Fire Freddie Kitchens]

Dorsey will meet with owner Jimmy Haslam on Tuesday afternoon to hash things out, but all signs are pointing to this being the end of Dorsey’s time in Cleveland. Days after firing Freddie Kitchens – who got just one season at the helm – the Browns could be on the verge of cleaning house.

Shortly after word of Kitchens’ dismissal broke, Dorsey released a statement indicating that he was staying put. Soon, we’ll know whether that’s the case.

Dorsey joined the Browns in 2017 and his lofty resume led to high expectations off the bat. So far, those expectations have not been met – the Browns finished 6-9 in 2019, despite having one of the league’s most dynamic quarterbacks in Baker Mayfield and acquiring superstar receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

Technically, it’s an upgrade over the Browns’ winless 2017 season, but that’s not quite enough to satisfy the Browns’ restless fans or ownership.

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Browns Fire Freddie Kitchens

The Freddie Kitchens era in Cleveland is over after just one season. The Browns fired their rookie head coach Sunday, according to Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The Browns are now officially the third team to can their head coach, and more will be coming shortly.

Kitchens’ firing represents an epic rise and fall, as he rose from a little known position coach to be the head man in Cleveland. He started last year as the Browns’ running backs coach, then took over as offensive coordinator after Todd Haley was fired. Baker Mayfield had a lot of success during the second half of 2018 for which Kitchens received a ton of credit, and GM John Dorsey gave him the full-time job to succeed Hue Jackson after the season.

The Kitchens era started off with a lot of fanfare. Cleveland had an eventful offseason, completing a blockbuster trade for Odell Beckham Jr., and there was an absurd amount of hype surrounding the team. Expectations got so high that it would’ve been hard for anyone to deliver, but Kitchens’ tenure was still a disaster by any standard. Things got off to a terrible start with a blowout loss to the Titans in their opener, and they never recovered.

Mayfield regressed considerably, and Beckham was never able to get fully integrated into the offense. There were a number of incidents that created the perception that Kitchens had lost control of the team, like Myles Garrett‘s indefinite suspension or Beckham reportedly telling other teams to ‘come get him.’

It had been widely reported that Kitchens was on the hot seat, and an embarrassing loss to the Bengals in Week 17 seemed to seal his fate. It still came as a surprise to him though, as Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweets that an “emotional” Kitchens told him on the phone that he “believed he had organizational support.”

Kitchens was in a meeting with owner Jimmy Haslam and Dorsey, a source told Josina Anderson of ESPN.com, which would seem to indicate Dorsey is safe despite some recent speculation to the contrary. Dorsey later issued a statement through the Browns on Twitter, confirming he isn’t going anywhere.

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Browns GM John Dorsey On Hot Seat?

We heard earlier this morning that the Browns are doing their due diligence on potential replacements for first-year head coach Freddie Kitchens. That report was not particularly surprising, but Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk has since dropped a much more intriguing nugget. Per Florio, Cleveland GM John Dorsey may also be on the hot seat.

Florio’s sources have indicated that “questions have emerged” regarding Dorsey’s future in Cleveland, with one source saying the GM’s job is “not completely safe.” It still sounds more likely than not that Dorsey will be back in 2020, but it’s nonetheless notable that ownership is even considering a change.

After all, Dorsey came to the team in December 2017 and has infused a great deal of talent into the roster in a short period of time. In some respects, he may even be a victim of his own success. If you had told most people that the Browns, who have almost always been a doormat since their rebirth in 1999, would have posted at least six wins in 2018 and 2019 after finishing 0-16 in 2017, those people likely would have said that Dorsey has things headed in the right direction.

But given the expectations that came with Dorsey’s high-profile acquisitions over the past couple of years, the team’s 6-9 record in 2019 is an abject disappointment. And he was the one who spearheaded the Kitchens hire, and he also forced former OC Todd Haley onto former HC Hue Jackson, which created a disastrous relationship.

Plus, a GM is not just a fantasy football player. He must not only accumulate talent but also determine how that talent will complement each other and how personalities will mesh. Obviously, Cleveland has been a disaster in that regard this year.

Florio says chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta could be a factor in Dorsey’s fate. There were rumblings earlier in the year that DePodesta could be elevated over Dorsey, and while that didn’t happen, current rumors suggest that if DePodesta were willing to relocate to Cleveland on a full-time basis, he could end up with much more power. Or, ownership could fire Dorsey and let DePodesta choose his successor.

Even if the smart money is on Dorsey staying and Kitchens going, this is clearly a situation worth monitoring, and one that seemed completely unrealistic at the start of the season.

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Browns Plan To Acquire OT Before Trade Deadline

Browns general manager John Dorsey is targeting a number of offensive tackles to ensure the team acquires an upgrade before the trade deadline, according to Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports. Cleveland’s offensive line woes have been well documented this season, but they are far from the only team seeking upgrades via trade.

Washington tackle Trent Williams remains the obvious best candidate available. Except, while he continues to hold out with no progress toward a new contract, Washington reportedly has no interest in trading him. In the report, Robinson quotes one source who said “Dorsey has been trying to get Williams for basically six weeks.”

While Williams remains Dorsey’s top target, Robinson reports that multiple league sources have said Dorsey has been “reaching out to a swath of teams about acquiring offensive line help before the deadline.” The report goes on to mention that on top of Washington, he has contacted two other NFC East teams: the Giants and Eagles.

Less than a week away from the trade deadline, Dorsey seems primed to wait until the deadline to see if Washington changes course on Williams’ availability. If not, Giants starting offensive tackle Nate Solder or Eagles swing tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai seem like legitimate fallback options, per Robinson.

Browns GM John Dorsey On Key Players, Draft Plans

Browns GM John Dorsey addressed the media this morning and provided a number of noteworthy tidbits. Here are some highlights (compiled via the Twitter accounts of Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal and Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com):

On the status of RB Duke Johnson, who requested a trade a few weeks ago:

Dorsey said that Johnson’s trade request does not change how the club views him, and that he still envisions a key role for Johnson in the Browns’ offense. Johnson has not been with the team since the offseason workout program began on April 1, but there has been communication between the team and Johnson’s agent. There is still no word on whether Johnson will report for mandatory minicamp in June, but it sounds as though Dorsey is not particularly keen to honor Johnson’s trade request at this time (which means there may not be a particularly large market for his services).

On trading into the first round:

Dorsey did not rule out the possibility of getting his club back into the first round of this year’s draft, and he acknowledged the benefit of getting the potential fifth-year option for a top collegiate prospect. He said he has talked to teams picking in the bottom of the first round about a potential trade, but he added that he always does that as a part of his due diligence. The Browns’ first draft choice this year is the No. 49 overall selection, so they would need to give up a lot to jump at least 17 spots into the first round.

On Odell Beckham Jr.:

Dorsey said OBJ has not reported to the team for voluntary workouts, but he does not sound concerned. He said it would be nice to have the star receiver present, but he added that Beckham is a professional who understands what he needs to do to get ready for the season.

On Kareem Hunt:

Dorsey said that Hunt has “worked his fanny off” both with the team and in the community, and he is impressed with the progress Hunt has made.

On Morgan Burnett:

Dorsey sees the newly-acquired defender as the Browns’ starting strong safety.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Browns GM Discusses OBJ Trade

The Browns have seemingly been connected to a number of big-name wideouts over the past year or so, and the team finally acquired a superstar receiver when they traded for Odell Beckham Jr.. The team had to give up plenty of capital (including a first-rounder and former first-rounder Jabrill Peppers), but they’re naturally excited about the potential of their young and dynamic offense.

General manager John Dorsey recently talked with Andrew Gribble of ClevelandBrowns.com to discuss all things OBJ, including the teams preparation for the trade and how the receiver will mesh with head coach Freddie Kitchens and quarterback Baker Mayfield. The entire article is worth a read, but we’ve compiled the notable soundbites below…

On if the front office prepared for a potential OBJ trade:

“It was a hypothetical that sometimes you can plan for, but you can plan for stuff that 99 percent of the time does not transpire. This just so happened to be that 1 percent that your planning actually paid off.”

On why the Browns ultimately pulled the trigger on a deal with the Giants:

“You can’t have enough competitive football players. We all understand the magnitude of his ability to play the game of football. He is a good football player, and you can’t have enough weapons around you. He is a really good asset to have on our football team.”

On the relationship between OBJ and his college teammate, Jarvis Landry:

“I know that they are best of friends. They are very competitive with each other. I heard Les Miles talk about how those two would drive each other and push each other when they were at LSU to compete. I think it can only help each other because that competition brings out the best in any athlete, regardless of the sport.”

On Kitchens’ ability to manage so many personalities:

“The one thing I love about Freddie, Freddie is very direct. He is very straightforward. He is going to set expectations. He is going to hold players accountable. He is going to be the same guy day in and day out. You know what? Players respect him, and they respect that type of approach.”

On expectations for Mayfield in 2019:

“With Baker, he showed last year that he can step up to certain challenges. The object of this thing is to surround him with as many good football players as you possibly can. It seems like Odell and Baker have a relationship formed. I am not sure where it formed, but they tell me that they have a relationship and that it is a good relationship. I am excited to see what the whole bunch can do.”

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AFC North Notes: Dennard, Browns, Steelers

Still unsigned, Darqueze Dennard remains an option for the Bengals. But the franchise looks to have given the cornerback a price point. The Bengals have not closed the door on a reunion with the sixth-year cornerback, according to Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer, but they have since signed B.W. Webb and retained some of their own free agents. The most recent negotiations between Dennard and the Bengals revealed a disconnect, with the team viewing him as strictly a slot cornerback — and one they may not consider paying at the top-market slot price Justin Coleman just reset with the Lions. Dennard’s camp came in with an offer north of what Coleman just signed, proposing a deal north of $10MM per year with the Bengals, Dehner reports, adding the corner’s representation never came back to the table with the Bengals. The team was willing to keep Dennard at around $8.5MM AAV, but that was before reaching a deal with Webb. The new Bengal corner played for first-year DC Lou Anarumo with the Giants.

Dennard was scheduled to visit the Chiefs this weekend. Shifting first to a higher-profile AFC North situation, here is the latest out of this division:

  • John Dorsey called Dave Gettleman on Monday to ask if Odell Beckham Jr. was indeed available. The Giants’ GM had twice said in 2019 he did not extend the wideout to trade him, but Gettleman told Dorsey he was, in fact, willing to move Beckham, Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com notes. Dorsey had several Beckham trades planned, but Cabot adds the talks never included Emmanuel Ogbah or Duke Johnson. Both of those pre-Dorsey Browns investments are now on the trade block.
  • As for the player the Giants did obtain for Beckham, Jabrill Peppers profiled as one the Browns did not want to let go. Despite being a Sashi Brown-era draft choice, Dorsey wanted to keep the improving safety, per Cabot. But Cleveland’s second-year GM was not going to let Peppers stand in the way of acquiring Beckham. Gettleman was “adamant” about Peppers’ inclusion in this trade because of the Giants’ recent decision to let Landon Collins walk in free agency, Cabot adds. The Giants are planning a versatile role for the third-year safety. Peppers can be under Giants control through 2021 via the fifth-year option.
  • The Steelers‘ acquisition of Mark Barron will likely not preclude them from using another early-round pick on a linebacker, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Gerry Dulac (on Twitter). Pittsburgh did not elect to devote significant resources to replacing Ryan Shazier last year but has used four first-round picks on linebackers since 2013 — Jarvis Jones, Shazier, Bud Dupree and T.J. Watt. Shazier’s unfortunate circumstances may again prompt the Steelers to use a first-round choice on an off-ball ‘backer.
  • Eli Rogers‘ latest Steelers contract is for two years, not one, the team announced. The auxiliary receiver may have a bigger role in Pittsburgh’s 2019 offense, considering Antonio Brown is out of the picture and Rogers is entering an offseason healthy. He tore an ACL in the Steelers’ 2017 divisional-round game and only played in three games last season.