Jimmy Johnson: Browns should have three years to rebuild, or else

Getty Images

The Browns have more picks in the next few drafts than anyone in the league. But they also have a timetable.

In his piece on Browns chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta, Peter King of  TheMMQB.com links Cleveland’s current plan to the vision of former Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson, who accumulated draft picks as part of his rebuild that led to Super Bowls. Those Cowboys teams had 23 picks in the top four rounds of the 1991-93 drafts. The Browns currently have 22 in the top four rounds in the 2016-18 drafts.

“Cleveland doesn’t have to build their team all this year,” Johnson said. “But after three years, they better have a contender. If they’re not a contender after three years, someone ought to be fired. Simple as that.”

Because DePodesta works for Jimmy Haslam, who hasn’t displayed what you’d call patience as an owner, there’s a reasonable chance of that happening anyway. But one of the keys to avoiding it will be finding a quarterback, which Johnson did with Troy Aikman, as part of this haul.

The Browns avoided that opportunity last year, giving up the chance to draft Carson Wentz as one of the moves that allowed them to pile up draft choices. Now there’s the small matter of picking good players, or parlaying those picks into guys that will make a difference.

DePodesta knows this as well, understanding the Browns need to continue with the good work they did in free agency (landing top guard Kevin Zeitler) and keeping their own guys (extending Joel Bitonio and Jamie Collins).

“We don’t get any points or win any games for having the most picks,” he said. “We need to turn that into talent. It’s part of the reason we are so excited for this April. I think our team will look fundamentally different in May than it does right now.”

And if the results aren’t apparent soon, Johnson won’t be surprised if the front office has a fundamentally different look as well.

31 responses to “Jimmy Johnson: Browns should have three years to rebuild, or else

  1. Jimmy is right. Accumulating all those picks is easy. Finding the right players to win with is the hard part. The Browns’ hired a bunch of numbers guys, and they know that more draft picks are better than less draft picks. Now the football guys in the front office need to take over. This has been an area of concern for Hue Jackson because he’s come out saying he wished they had some regular football scouts in there. Not just a bunch of numbers guys. Jimmy Johnson didn’t do all that on his own. He had lots of help from the Cowboys scouts. Both Hue and Jimmy like to be the guy in control, but they still need good talent evaluators to narrow the field for them.

  2. Jimmy knows how to build a winner through the draft, and not just getting the top pics right but hitting on some late round gems (Larry Allen in the sixth and ‘big Cat’ Leon Lett in the 7th, etc) all due to his deep college connections at the time–not sure the moneyball team has an algorithm that will find the talented player at Sanoma State.

  3. Jimmy Johnson knew how to draft. The Browns have no one, including their head coach, that knows how to do that.

    The Browns have had 37 picks the last 4 drafts and have a horrible record.

    To go 1-15 with 14 picks in a draft is absolutely awful. To regress from 3-13 with all those picks and not 1 good player is laughable.

  4. Haslam is a con man who stole millions of dollars from his PilotFlyingJ customers and no doubt used some of that money to buy the team.

    This is just a new con on the Cleveland fans since his old one got busted. 50 mil under the salary cap last year. As if the Browns will ever compete with this thief owning the team. He should be in jail.

  5. Three years is a reasonable expectation even for a team as down as the Browns (or Niners or Bears for that matter). If a GM can’t churn the roster and revamp the culture in that amount of time with all the quality draft picks and FA money available to him, he’s not doing it right. No team in any league should require 5 yrs to be relevant again. The fans are paying far too much to tolerate that kind of timeframe.

  6. harrisonhits2 says:
    Apr 3, 2017 7:46 AM
    [Haslam] should be in jail.
    =====================================
    Most people feel the same about Roethlisberger.

  7. I feel for the Browns fans,loyal group I must add.I have been a Patriots fan for over 40 years and have seen the ugly,bad and good.I remember the “grogans zeroes”days.Everyone wants the great coach,player etc but what really keeps a good team good is ownership.Some of the great teams have been ruined by the owner(cowboys,49ers,redskins the list is endless)I wish the Browns luck,for their loyal fans.

  8. fatguystrangler says:
    Apr 3, 2017 7:46 AM
    I think this more of a build from scratch, then a rebuild.
    ——
    Bingo. For years the Browns were caught between partial rebuilds while trying to close the gap on the rest of the division. For once, the Browns tore it all the way down to the studs and are doing a complete reboot with no shortcuts. That they went 1-15 last season should surprise nobody, and it looks like they’re finally doing it the right way.

    Johnson is right, no rebuild in the NFL should take 4+ years anymore, especially not with the combination of cap space and draft capital the Browns have.

  9. The Moneyball hires weren’t successful in baseball and all of them were fired. Why would anyone think they are going to do well in football? These clowns went around last year bad mouthing Wentz which tells me they haven’t a clue.

  10. I absolutely agreed on the Moneyball thing. It’s the biggest load of crap to come down the line since, well, (pick the latest trend). How many times has Oakland won the World Series?
    Numbers should never be dismissed, but they should NEVER be the final determination factor when making a decision. Our economy is screwed up largely because the numbers people are in charge and the people managers are out of favor.

    That said, I think after all the years of playing God, the management at Cleveland has awakened to the reality that it’s not about the owner/management, it’s about the players, i.e., the quality of the individual.

    Three years from now will be a good measure of their success.

  11. I actually think the Browns have been smart about this & are on the right track. I’m not as high on Wentz as some people but they got a lot in return for that pick. And right now they need players. And they’re gonna get players. They’ve made some good moves. If they can get a QB they will be right in the thick of it. If you don’t think moneyball has been happening in the NFL for a while now you haven’t been paying attention.

  12. The Moneyball hires weren’t successful in baseball and all of them were fired.

    ———————-

    Absolutely wrong. Billy Beane is still in Oakland. The Red Sox are huge analytics guys. Theo Epstein in Chicago is an analytics guy. No one (not even Beane) believes the numbers are the ONLY thing that matters. But moneyball has been widly successful.

  13. Who are the idiots thumbing down the comment that Haslam is a con artist? Haslam concocted and carried out a scheme that ripped off multiple truckers. That increased prices on shipped goods for you, me, everybody.

  14. harrisonhits2 says:
    Apr 3, 2017 7:46 AM
    Haslam is a con man who stole millions of dollars from his PilotFlyingJ customers and no doubt used some of that money to buy the team.
    ————————
    This isn’t the first time you’ve taken a stab at Haslam. Are you oblivious to the fact he was partial owner of your Steelers before his purchase of the Browns? Troll much?

  15. Unfortunately the Browns don’t have a Herschel Walker to trade… How stupid were the Vikings??? lmao

  16. H.J. will be fired within 3 years, he can’t take you to the promised land period.!!!

  17. “Moneyball” has been going on in the NFL since the 90’s. Thats what the salary cap is. There’s good players cut every year because they make too much money and replaced with guys that can do 80% of the production for 20% of the price. This is why moneyball isn’t becoming a thing in the NFL, because its already been a thing for decades.

  18. Yea, I don’t know if anyone who really knows football is ready to say Wentz is going to be a quality long term starter, let alone franchise. And Yes, finding a QB is critical, but also critical is not trying to force the pick when the player isn’t there AND stability of the organization and growing and improving what you can. If they don’t get at least 3 seasons there’s no reason to believe Cleveland will ever pull out of the cellar short of dumb luck.

  19. The guy that pointed Larry Allen was drafted in the 2nd was absolutely correct. However, Jimmy didn’t draft him. Jimmy was gone the month before the draft due to his divorce from Jerry.
    Jimmy did however draft Troy Aikman, Darryl Johnston, Eric Williams, Alvin Harper, Emmitt Smith, Kevin Williams, Russell Maryland, Tony Tolbert, Kevin Smith, Darren Woodson, Larry Brown, Darren Smith, Robert Jones Jr., Steve Walsh, and Mark Stepnoski in a five year period.
    Michael Irvin, Ken Norton Jr., Nate Newton, Mark Tuinei, and of course Herschel were already from the original Cowboy regime.
    My point being, it’s not how many picks you have, but what you do with them.And from that list above, you can see that Jimmy knew exactly what the hell was doing.

  20. abninf says:
    Apr 3, 2017 8:37 AM
    Imagine how many more Super Bowl the Cowboys would have won f Jimmy hadn’t quit on us.

    ++++++

    YOUR KIDDING?… RIGHT?

  21. Pats fan here – every year there are at least 10 guys on the final 53 roster that weren’t there the year before.

    E.G. – 23 of the guys on the SB winners last season weren’t on the team in 2014.

  22. sportoficionado says:
    Apr 3, 2017 7:32 AM
    Jimmy knows how to build a winner through the draft, and not just getting the top pics right but hitting on some late round gems (Larry Allen in the sixth and ‘big Cat’ Leon Lett in the 7th, etc) all due to his deep college connections at the time–not sure the moneyball team has an algorithm that will find the talented player at Sanoma State.
    ———————-
    sportoficionado??? LOL!!!
    Jimmy didn’t draft Larry Allen, he was drafted in ’94.
    Also, Larry Allen went to Sonoma State, NOT Sanoma State.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!