On Tuesday morning, teams were going about their ordinary offseason business, engaging in meetings regarding the draft and free agency.
And then came the news that Browns owner Jimmy Haslam had fired CEO Joe Banner and G.M. Mike Lombardi. In at least one NFL city, the shock brought the meetings to a halt.
It’s largely unprecedented for any NFL team to engage in so much turnover in such a short time, and the abrupt nature of the decision to dump Banner and Lombardi is sparking all sorts of speculation about what happened.
Per a league source, here’s what happened. Owner Jimmy Haslam decided that Lombardi had to go. Haslam also decided that assistant G.M. Ray Farmer deserved to have full control over the football operation, unfettered by Banner’s authority over the football side of the organization.
So with Alec Scheiner running the business side of the organization and Farmer now in charge of the football operation, there was no need for Banner to stay.
The signs of a short-fused Haslam emerged a year ago, when Haslam decided to return to his “first love” at Pilot Flying J and bounced the man Haslam had hired from PepsiCo to run the company while Haslam was focusing completely on the Browns. It was Haslam, we’re told, who decided to fire coach Rob Chudzinski after one year. And now Haslam has fired Lombardi and Banner.
So, over the last 18 months, Haslam has made four key hires in his two primary businesses. And he has fired all four of them. Does that say more about the men who were hired, or about the man who hired them?