Joe Banner, Mike Lombardi out in Cleveland, Ray Farmer new GM

AP

In a stunning announcement on Tuesday morning, the Cleveland Browns revealed that Ray Farmer is their new general manager, as CEO Joe Banner and former G.M. Mike Lombardi are leaving the team.

The news will come as a total shock in Cleveland and across the NFL, where the Browns were already viewed by many as a dysfunctional franchise following the firing of head coach Rob Chudzinski at the end of the 2013 season.

It is unclear what happened to cause the Browns to clean out their front office, but it is not a good look for owner Jimmy Haslam that he appears incapable of bringing stability to this franchise.

Now Farmer, who was previously the assistant general manager, has a huge task ahead of him in shaping a franchise that needs a complete turnaround. He and new coach Mike Pettine have an uphill battle to turn the Browns from perpetual losers into contenders.

137 responses to “Joe Banner, Mike Lombardi out in Cleveland, Ray Farmer new GM

  1. It’s actually the first move that makes sense… How could any team have confidence in them after the Chudzinski disaster?

  2. Lombardi didn’t even get to hire his head coach and he also made one of the best trades ever with Richardson. Yea, I guess that isn’t good enough in Browns country! Such rich history to protect….

  3. YES YES YES YES YES!!!!!!!

    The dysfunction is gone!

    Joe Banner was a napoleonesque little dictator…and Lombardi was a turd dressed as…well…a turd.

    Ray Farmer is a good man and with Mike Pettine I expect we shall see a fruitful off season and a new and highly competetive Browns team.

    I am so happy I could just leave little lombardis all over the place!

  4. WOW! Is it possible for the NFL to limit the scope and reach of an owner’s management decisions? I mean at this point the “Factory of Sadness” is starting to transition into the “Laugh Factory.”

  5. If anything, removing Banner and Lombardi should be applauded. Of all the bad moves the Browns have made, firing Chud/Norv after only a season, trading Richardson, drafting Weeden etc., this move is the first good one in a while.

  6. From Lombardi to Lombardi there is no one like Lombardi. Mike Next time you are on NFL network ripping people maybe you will remember what a crappy GM you were. ADIOS

  7. justified but just wow when was the last time a gm and ceo got fired/left not sure which yet the week of the combine

  8. Wth. Lombardi is out? Not saying he was great, but that’s another short term employee.
    I hope this is all good changes, if not another makeover in 2015

  9. Outside people might not know, but we all hate these two morons. This isn’t a sign of dysfunction, this is getting rid of the source of the problem.

  10. So Lombardi hired the new coach, then himself got fired?

    Don’t teams normally fire the GM, THEN the new GM fires the coach, and brings in his guy?

    Browns are living in the bizarro world.

    Also, so does this mean no more Manziel to CLE?

  11. This is the best news we have got in awhile. Thankgod 2 of the stooges are gone. I knew there was more to farmer not taking the dolphins job besides the fact he wouldnt have final say in mia. So as i said before thank god they are gone. I now have more faith this could lead tous finally getting our organizationin order in ray farmer i trust
    Go browns

  12. The fact that Haslam brought them in in the first place shows how misguided he really is….but at least someone over there woke up…

    Lombardi is an absolute waste of time in NFL management.

    Haslam needs to go too…but this move had to be made.

  13. As a Browns fan I am very surprised. However, these two are NOT viewed favorably in Clev and the Lombardi hire was an embarrassment by Haslem to begin with. In Clev this will be viewed as very good news. Now i can understand the national media criticism.

    Farmer has been on board awhile and will handle the draft just fine. Hey it can’t be any worse than the botched draft and mostly botched FA signings of last year.

    This is probably the best move Jimmy H can make at this point. Now he just needs to get out of the way and let these folks run things for the next five years. That’s a big “if” though for Jimmy H.

  14. As an Eagle fan I blame Banner for Dawkins leaving. Iv long hated that man but he did help build the Eagles and is very cap savvy, I feel for the Browns fans…they are going nowhere fast!!

  15. Here in Detroit, it was a HUGE deal when the Fords finally let Millen go. It was a tremendous sense of relief, and a belief that we could finally move forward. I suspect that what a Browns’ fan will feel like now.

    Of course, that feeling in The D was short-lived when we hired Millen’s understudy.

  16. Anyone bagging this move is obviously not a browns fan LOL!

    Thank goodness this was done. Joe Banner was a cancer in that front office… it was widely reported that he was the reason so many people didn’t want to take jobs with us. He was very difficult to work with… and Lombardi’s track record goes without saying.

    Thank GOODNESS… I am excited for our future once again! Good luck to Ray Farmer!

    (At least we now know why Farmer didn’t take the Miami job, huh?)

  17. When I used to watch Lombardi on the NFL network, he always use to come across an arrogant, sanctimonious know-it-all. When you look at his track record as a front office guy, it’s not mediocre it’s bad. He’s whiffed on too much talent to have the ego he does. He’s always rubbed me the wrong way.

  18. Banner and Lombardi had no business getting the jobs in the first place, they had NO idea what they were doing. Second, they have a HC and GM who said you need the extra layer of a Pres between GM and owner, this aint IBM idiots! Finally, if any of you know Ray Farmer he’s a star and up and coming. Browns are new school now, and let old school go. Brilliant moves, they will draft Teddy B, or Sammy W with their no 1 pick and Championship will come to Cleveland if ever with this mgt team in place. Great and APPROPRIATE move!

  19. I think the Browns should make all personnel decisions based on public opinion polls posted on the NFL’s website. That would probably be more successful than the current methodology.

  20. Not a shock to me at all (though I no longer live in Ohio so maybe it is a shock in Cleveland). Haslam is a hot head who never seemed to be the type who liked someone else telling him how to run his team (think Jerry Jones). Everything the Browns have done SCREAMED two different guys with differences in opinion running the same ship (see Farmer and Lombardi both getting hired after interviewing for the same job as did Chud and Ray Horton. Also Chud made similar comments hinting at it).

    If there is ANYTHING a Browns fan should learn about Jimmy Haslam it’s how serious he takes college football so him firing guys at this time of year probably says they got in an argument over the draft with the Haslam/Farmer team having more votes than the now unemployed Lombardi/Banner team. Either that or it’s a mirror of what happened here in Indianapolis where Bill Polian upon becoming the teams president began to run the team like he OWNED it resulting in the actual owner showing him that wasn’t the case.

    Either way it’s a definite upgrade. I can’t see too many Browns fans being upset about it. They’re probably dancing outside the stadium considering Lombardi was probably the most unpopular hire ever in Cleveland and that’s saying something.

  21. So, to all the Browns fans who wanted Banner’s head and Lombardi’s head when Chud got fired, are you happy now?

    I never asked for their heads, but I think its a good move, even if again, the timing is weird.

    Ray Farmer, tag, you’re it.

    (excellent hire, btw, Farmer.)

  22. Wow. These guys have truly become a comedy act. And on top of it all, the owner has some pretty serious legal issues.

  23. I’m not a Brown’s fan but I truly have no idea if this is good or great for the franchise and the fans??

    On one hand, change is great and refreshing – especially to dysfunction and constant head shaking…

    But they seem to be doing everything backwards in a groundhog day kind of way.

    I hope for the best.. I love worst to first type franchises, or ones that turn around the culture into one of a model for success.. get rid of bloated contracts for under-performing talents and go young through the draft with a few added FA acquisitions, etc, etc.

    Like the Hawks ya!

    Best of luck Brownies, you guys deserve it for sticking it out.. there’s light..

  24. Shocked that most of the comments are negative/ripping the Browns for this.

    Banner and Lombardi are a cancer to any organization they may be affiliated with. Ray Farmer is a legit GM. Banner and Lombardi wanted puppets they can control. They are NOT legitimate front office guys.

    This is a good move because Ray Farmer is a huge upgrade over Michael Lombardi. This is a good move because Alex Schiner is a huge upgrade over Joe Banner.

  25. You guys lost out on a great GM with 8 years of experience. Itching to get back to a front office job to show his time in Detroit was just a fluke . Matt Millen.

  26. This may actually be a good move for the Browns. The timing isn’t the greatest, but you need to blow up the old before you can start building the new.

  27. I really feel bad for the fans in Cleveland. They deserve better than this. What a disaster Haslam has turned out to be. Move of Jerry Jones and Dan Snyder, it looks like there might be a new sherrif in town. Terrible owners can’t get out of their own way.

  28. The owner finally seems to have caught on to what the fans and the rest of the NFL already knew- Banner and Lombardi are disasters. Unfortunately, he figured this out after these two got rid of the best coaching staff this team had assembled since their re-entry to the NFL. Hopefully Pettine andcrew are ready for the job and not just the latest mistake or we Browns’ fans will be doing this again next year. At least Farmer taking over at GM seems like the best move they’ve made this offseason. I think he has a more flexible attitude toward how things can play out. The previous regime fired Chudzinski saying the team had not shown improvement, which was bull—-. They were close to winning in all but 2 games (unlike the past where they were done by halftime) and that coaching staff had inherited a mess. I thought they started to turn things around and with a solid offseason, would have made the playoffs this year. Now it’s rebuild time AGAIN.

  29. Best thing that could have happened! As an Eagles fan who had Lombardi as a scout and Banner as GM, I can tell Cleveland that you added by subtraction. That should be the last job that fraud Banner ever has in the NFL.

  30. A major turn around is true but they don’t need a major turn over. There are playmakers on the team and they have both cap space and draft picks. If anything they probably got fired for trading for a basket case and a guy who immediately went on IR.

  31. You have to love Browns fans. “The dysfunction is over”. Blasting the Richardson trade, which was actually pure genius. Getting rid of Banner and Lombardi is good because they were “the source of the problem”. For God’s sake, one of them blamed B&L for drafting Brandon Weeden!

    Yes, Banner was a “cancer”. Every Browns fan in the world would kill their mothers to have the record he had in Philly.

    You do realize they were only there one season, right? You don’t actually get to blame 15 years of dysfunction on guys who were around a little over 1 calendar year.

  32. This is a bold move by Haslam. Good for him though, if he thinks these guys can’t get it done. Ray Farmer is a legit talent evaluator. It’s also kind of funny that many of you are saying it’s a joke, after many of you said that Banner and Lombardi are “stooges”.

  33. THANK THE LORD!!

    By far Haslam’s best move yet!

    The Browns finally have a fighting chance without that gnome Joe Banner and Mike Lombardi making decisions.

    Whoever thinks this is “more dysfunction” you couldn’t be more wrong. Everything up to now has been dysfunction. This is removing the dysfunction.

    Couldn’t be happier as a Browns fan.

  34. The Browns are the laughing stock of the league. They are an absolute joke. I figured Banner would fail. He was a bad GM in Philly too. Only a matter of time until he got canned.

  35. Guess we just found out that Banner and Lombardi knew of Bess arrest. How do you trade for a guy that was committed to a mental facility by his own family and give him a new guaranteed deal?

    We all should have known Mo wasn’t having this sh!t go on for long.

  36. I know this move looks bad on paper, but I completely support this decision.

    Trust me, I’m an Eagles fan. Joe Banner had to go. He was the problem.

  37. And everyone thought the Jacksonville Jaguars were the worst organization geared toward losing.lol. I’d say The Cleveland Browns have owned that title for many years now.
    1 Year coach gone
    1 year GM gone.
    I mean come on are they really trying to build a winner for the dedicated Browns fan or are they just going through the motions and just being typical billionaires and having a nice tax wright off. You Browns fans ugly as you are.lol
    DESERVE a winner up there. Bring back the
    Old School type of Browns football, give your DAWG POUND a reason to howl!

  38. Great move by the Browns. These were terrible hires to begin with. Lombardi is an idiot and Banner is a jerk. Too bad they made Chudzinski the scape goat before it was too late. You can bet this news made Eagles owner, Jeff Lurie, very happy.

  39. No objection to the Browns canning people who aren’t helping, but I trust that Pettine and Kyle were “Farmer’s guys,” otherwise their leashes would be shorter than they had expected when they signed on.

  40. Why is Lombardi gone? He executed one of the best trades in the past 5 years… dumping Richardson for a first round pick.

  41. Ray Farmer was a part of the Pettine hiring. He was at the Senior Bowl. He has been involved all along. He was the driving force behind this wonderful occurance. Haslam saw he might lose Farmer to Miami and worked the deal…hence Farmer withdrew his name from consideration and the doors were unlocked, waiting for the right time. This is the right time.

    Solid GM in Place. What looks to be a good coaching hire, and his staff seems to be solid as well. 10 Draft picks…two firsts, two thirds and two fourths. 50 million in cap room. Josh Gordon, Joe Thomas, Joe Haden, Phil Taylor, Atybha Rubin, Alex Mack (sign him) TJ Ward (sign him) Jordan Cameron, Mitch Schwartz…theres a lot of talent here. This could be a good year coming.

    I am stoked bout the possibilities.

    Laugh now non-believers. Here come the Browns!

  42. kastout11 says:
    Feb 11, 2014 10:31 AM
    The Browns are the laughing stock of the league. They are an absolute joke. I figured Banner would fail. He was a bad GM in Philly too. Only a matter of time until he got canned.

    First of all, Joe Banner was never GM of the Eagles. He was the executive VP. And he wasn’t the GM in Cleveland either. Secondly, the Eagles went to the playoffs 11 times while he was there.

  43. Hasslem asked Farmer his opinion of his current team and who they should look at to draft and Farmer sold him a pen.

    An open letter to Jimmy Hasslem, give me a week to prepare and a half hour of your time and you will fire Farmer and hire me. Take the challenge! What do you have to lose?

  44. Anyone that’s commenting saying the Browns did this backwards. Farmer had the opportunity to take the Miami job and turned it down stating he liked Cleveland and wanted to be part of the rebuilding. Meaning, he likes Pettine being hired and the staff. So, yes, they hired the coach then replaced the GM but Farmer is obviously ok with Pettine being the coach otherwise he would have went to Miami. Getting rid of these 2 is great, Lumdumtard has a horrible track record and did nothing and I was tired of Banner trying to recreate the Eagles (where he was fired). Farmer is a bright young football guy and will do a great job. Very excited and happy to see where this new and hopefully very long office takes us!!!

    GO BROWNS!!!

  45. For those trying to keep score.

    Fans outside of Cleveland are shocked by this move as to them it looks as the Browns have cleaned house of their front office and are dysfunctional.

    Fans in Cleveland are dancing in the streets because the guys who made the decision to fire the guy who drafted all but 1 of their current pro bowlers (and who’s new team made the Superbowl this year) for the sake of bringing in his buddy who happened to fail at the same job two decades earlier on top of hiring and firing a coach after one season is gone. Then they promoted from within the guy other teams were trying to steal from them all off season. Who probably had a lot of say in their new head coaches hiring which prevented him from taking a job with another team.

  46. Pathetic. you should root for your hometown team, however, i would understand ehy done fans would choose to dump the Browns and follow a new team. The league should take control of the franchise and find a new owner. It’s been done before in pro sports (ex. Dodgers).

  47. Glad to see Joe Banner fall off after the way he helped to destroy the Eagles. The way he handled the end of Brian Dawkins tenure was disgraceful.

  48. I don’t follow the Browns closely but could someone tell me what front office person was responsible for three smart decisions:

    1. Acquiring and starting Brian Hoyer at cheap money

    2. Trading Richardson

    3. Selecting Josh Gordon and not trading him

  49. Good Luck Ray Farmer. It is Good to see you finally as a GM in the league. Yoiu did a Good job for the Chiefs for many years. We wish you the Best of Luck.

  50. How do you fire guys after one year? They can’t turn that mess around in one year. I actually thought they were heading in the right direction they just had way to many injuries with GBs.

    They definitely needed to get rid of Richardson and they followed it up with providing 2 exciting players on offense to watch in Gordon and Cameron.

    Things were lining up for them to draft a QB and RB that could actually make the team work.

    Im not a Browns fan but I their defense is pretty solid and their offense was 2 players short of being solid.

  51. Hey Cleveland fans…I’m sorry. You guys have dealt w/ a lot over the past decade. I have been a Seahawks fan my whole life and know what a few bad years feel like, but you guys have had more than a few.

    Here’s to hoping your franchise can get things right this time.

  52. Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron were Tom Heckert picks…as a point of reference. Tom Heckert should have been retained but thats water under the bridge.

    Lombardi got lucky in the Richardson deal…could have gone either way I suppose…and keeping Gordon was a wise move. Hoyer…the jury is out but it does look good.

  53. I had the misfortune of working briefly in Cleveland. What a miserable city. However, the people were great and I had a lot of respect for the Browns fans. They’ve had their hearts yanked out several times in football, and they deserve better than this Al Davis/Steinbrenner-esque owner.

  54. I had no idea how we could have a worse, and even more clueless an owner than Randy Lerner…and then Haslem came to town and brought in Dumb & Dumber, Dumber aka Dumbardi was at NFL Network for years because nobody wanted him. Good bet for him to never get another NFL job ever again…except at NFL Network.

    I’m shocked. I just heard it just now. Wow. Hope this move works out. I want to have a winner in my city.

  55. So now I guess Lombardi who was an arrogant know-it-all on NFL Network will again joint the media, where he can again get away with being an arrogant know-it-all…GMs that make bad decisions (like Ireland did drafting Mr. Wuss aka Jonathan Martin and signing Richie Incognito in FA–which is the main reason he was fired) are held accountable, but media droogs who write untrue and mean, nasty, ugly things just for a story and reek of hypocrisy are rewarded! Looks like PFT might be the next post for Lombardi…just sayin’…

  56. Jokes to a Cleveland fan:
    HOLMGERN (didn’t even try)
    BANBARDI (what did they do?)
    LERNER (didn’t care)

    At least Jimmy got rid of these guys recommended by the NFL front office, they don’t have anything good there.

  57. El Pollo Loco says:
    Feb 11, 2014 10:35 AM
    Art Modell is laughing at you from heave

    _________________________________________________________________

    You believe Modell is in heaven? Wow!

  58. Yeah baby! A great day for Browns fans. Haslam saw the mistake and didn’t wait to reload. Farmer is highly touted. If he can bring stability and good scouts, and we leave anyone with the word ‘president’ in his title away from the war room, we’ll be just fine.

    GO BROWNS!

  59. Well, the timing is odd… not sure how Chudinski feels right now. And Pettine has got to be wondering what the hell he’s signed up for, and hopefully has time to permanently postpone the closing date on his new house in the Cleveland area.

    But having said that, this sounds like a move in the right direction. With the failure rate of the Browns, it’s clearly time to for a shake up in the front office.

    Start with firing whosever idea it was to draft Weeden in the first round. Why did anyone whose memory goes back far enough to remember Chris Weinke think that was a good idea?

  60. If I was a Browns fan I would be celebrating because Banner and Lomardi sounded like a real problem. I don’t think there could have ever been any stability with those two guys there.

    This was a disaster already when I heard Mike Lombardi’s name for front office because we watch the guy on TV and he is clueless about football. He eats off of some loose affiliation with New England Patriots but when those guys like Belicheck failure is soon to follow.

  61. It is the 100% right thing to do. Props to Haslam for having the “potatoes” to do it.

    With the draft upcoming and the locker room in complete turmoil after the foolish Chud firing.. Haslam had to clean out the top ranks and establish a whole new hierarchy.

  62. I read threads like this and come away with the impression that too many fans live in a zero sum world. If something bad happens to someone else it elevates them and if something good happens to someone else it lowers them, so they cheer a decent human being like Lombardi getting fired. Despite its record, Cleveland improved as a football team and are well positioned for 2014 and beyond. The league was stunned by the Richardson trade but it was a smart move. Playing Hoyer had no downside (most executives would have picked a more costly less effective option). The team is stocked with draft choices and has a number of excellent players and several prop bowlers that will stay because the Browns can afford them. Despite his early baggage they kept Josh Gordon and he could be the best receiver in the league going forward. An owner with legal problems pretends he is Jerry Jones and fans buy his act.

  63. I knew they were in trouble when they hired Mike Lombardi. That guy practically scolded the Arizona Cardinals for not drafting Blaine Gabbert @ #5 overall in 2011 on national TV, then scolded Blaine Gabbert for being so horrible when playing for the Jags!

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