Ownership went “nuclear” on Browns front office on Wednesday

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The Browns committed an epic bungle on Tuesday, and on Wednesday the folks who own the team justifiably reacted, strongly.

Per a league source, ownership (specifically Dee Haslam) went “nuclear” on the front office in the aftermath of the failed effort to consummate a trade for Bengals quarterback A.J. McCarron.

The reaction comes even as the Browns spent much of Wednesday trying to persuade multiple media members that the Browns didn’t screw up the trade that was indeed screwed up. The Browns contend that they signed the appropriate paperwork to reflect their agreement to the deal, that they sent it to the Bengals for signature and submission to the league office, that the Bengals sent documentation signed only by the team, and that by the time the error was detected it was too late to rectify it.

It’s possible that the Browns, who have executed multiple trades under the current regime, always do it this way. Which is fine if there’s time to get everything buttoned up. It’s not fine if, as in this case, the deal has been negotiated as the annual deadline for doing such deals approaches and the other team doesn’t send to the league office documentation signed by both teams.

Meanwhile, multiple teams (the official number now stands at seven) have told PFT that the Browns and Bengals should have separately informed the league office of the terms of the trade. As one source put it via email to PFT, “Only requirement is for both clubs to separately notify the league office via email of trade terms. If trade terms match, deal done. No need to sign paperwork and submit prior. Have 15 days to submit trade papers (with terms that identically match emails).”

Although the Browns have provided the media with plenty of grounds for criticism in recent days, the strong, negative reaction to Tuesday’s trade-deadline misadventure is smart, proper, and in many respects overdue. The football operation currently is a mess, and even though ownership seems to be committed to showing that it can stay the course for at least two full years, a 1-23 record, decisions to pass on Carson Wentz and Deshaun Watson, and the embarrassing failure to consummate the McCarron deal should cause them to chart a new course ASAP — and to eventually hire someone smart and capable and to get out of the way completely and let that person try to fix things, once and for all.

74 responses to “Ownership went “nuclear” on Browns front office on Wednesday

  1. Jimmy and his band of idiots are an embarrasment. My wife has birthed more children in the last two years than they have wins. You guys are a joke. Sell the team.

  2. This is all just lip service from owners who kept the team 41 million under the cap last year and a whopping 63 million under this year.

    The top 24 teams under the cap in 2017 are 12 million or less, which equates to a huge 51 million+ gap in player personnel budget.

    The Haslams are scam artists who bought the Browns to replace their Pilot FlyingJ con once that got busted. They have zero intention of ever putting a winning product on the field, it would simply cost too much and not let them pull every last penny out of the team that they can, thereby screwing the fans, players, coaches and GM, while laughing all the way to the bank.

  3. If they can convince some smart football person to move to Cleveland and take the job at least that guy will have tons of draft assets to play with.

    But who is out there that is 1) Capable and 2) Willing to move to Cleveland? Maybe throw 12 mill a year at Harbaugh and see what happens.

  4. Cleveland has been under the cap by 90+ million the last two years. That was money not spent on good football players, instead just kept in the pockets of their bad owners. Their former center Mack was the highest rated center in football both last year, and so far this year too. Former Browns tackle Schwartz made the pro bowl last year for the Chargers. Cleveland doesn’t even try to stack up NFL-competant level talent. Maybe the Browns owners have money issues elsewhere, hmm?

    Owners need to be held just as responsible for being bad as players and coaches are. Sometimes it’s the owners who need firing. Browns fans deserve better.

  5. When it comes to them wanting to draft a QB in the 1st or 2nd round again I wonder when a college player will absolutely refuse to play for them so they can salvage their NFL future. Its irresponsible, selfish and maybe masochistic for them to draft a qb early.

  6. Browns were not really interested a year ago – this seems to stem from a Rapoport article Feb 2016 that merely said Browns and Texans, both (back then) in need of QBs, are among teams that “would be interested”. It was speculative. Both teams then publicly said they weren’t interested. NFL Network the following month claimed “a source” that said 3 teams – Browns, Jets and Broncos” were interested in trading for Kaep. But who was this source? Kaep’s agent? Who else would know all the supposed teams vying for him apart from Kaep, his agent, and the 9ers – and the 9ers would not need to publicise it if 3 teams really were clamoring for the guy. Kaep’s agent seems the most likely source of all this, continually trying to drum up interest. And now that’s failed, it must be collusion!

  7. marvin1958 says:
    November 1, 2017 at 8:55 pm
    As Pappa John once sai, leadership begins at the top.

    19 5 Rate This

    If you are quoting Papa John as an authority on anything other than bad pizza, you may be part of the problem with America’s collective IQ.

  8. Feel bad for Browns. As a Jets fan I can honestly say I feel lucky that I am not a Browns fan. And we haven’t won a Super Bowl since 69.

    On a side note > Browns D has a solid young core foundation – but the O is horrendous and Joe Thomas might retire.

    Offseason Plan > Sign Kirk Cousins & Draft Penn State RB Saquan Barkley w/ 1st Overall Pick in 2018 Draft. Oh and Fire Everyone.

  9. This was a Hugh Jackson trade that management purposefully screwed up to back out of it. It was a bad trade.

  10. I just looked up the word “Bungle” in the Dictionary, There is a picture of the Browns HQ under the caption!
    But seriously, why is there a trade deadline for teams in the Middle of the season? What possibly could be a justifiable reason to cut off one of the only ways to replace an injured player that could get the team into the post season??

  11. If an owner doesn’t have at least one 8-8 season in any 5 year period, they should be forced to sell. I feel soory for the fans of Cleveland

  12. This is all on the owners. They hired these buffoons. They horded all that cap space. They approved the trades out of drafting Wentz and Watson.

    If the Haslams were truly interested in winning, they would have hired a true football, experienced executive to take over the franchise. Someone like Ron Wolf or Bill Polian or someone who could step in and bring stability and credibility immediately. It’s not brain surgery. Hire someone like that and within 2-3 years you have a competitive team. Not this stupid analytics, attorneys-as-GM BS. Haslam wanted to go super cheap on the roster while maintaining his own personal control of the roster. It’s all on his him.

  13. I feel bad for Browns fans, I really do. They are loyal to a fault and deserve better. But I somewhat perversely enjoy seeing what new ways the Browns find of sinking even lower. I’ll be happy for the fans when (if) the team ever turns it around, but it’s fun seeing the trainwreck while it happens.

  14. harrisonhits2 says:
    November 1, 2017 at 9:04 pm
    This is all just lip service from owners who kept the team 41 million under the cap last year and a whopping 63 million under this year.

    The top 24 teams under the cap in 2017 are 12 million or less, which equates to a huge 51 million+ gap in player personnel budget.

    The Haslams are scam artists who bought the Browns to replace their Pilot FlyingJ con once that got busted. They have zero intention of ever putting a winning product on the field, it would simply cost too much and not let them pull every last penny out of the team that they can, thereby screwing the fans, players, coaches and GM, while laughing all the way to the bank

    ——————–

    The league has a rule mandating teams spend a minimum of 89% of revenue shared toward the salary cap over a 4 year period. It’s common for teams to stock pile cap space in order to retain developed talent in the future. If teams fail to meet the threshold the league forces compliance by spreading the difference equally over whoever is on the 53 man roster in year 4.

  15. Couldn’t have been too Nuclear…..there is no story of anybody in that dysfunctional organization getting fired….Blow It Up Already….the stockpiling of draft picks for future growth doesn’t work when you waste the picks….

  16. flush ’em all … start over next year.

    as an aside, with all of the digital trails available, I don’t know why they can’t prove their claim that the trade terms (signed by them) were sent to the Bungles prior to the deadline.

    I think the league should honor the trade if the Brown’s claims are true … though it should have never, ever gone down to the last minute.

  17. Meanwhile, multiple teams (the official number now stands at seven) have told PFT that the Browns and Bengals should have separately informed the league office of the terms of the trade. As one source put it via email to PFT, “Only requirement is for both clubs to separately notify the league office via email of trade terms. If trade terms match, deal done. No need to sign paperwork and submit prior. Have 15 days to submit trade papers (with terms that identically match emails).”

    Wait, what?! So you mean that the Browns could have just sent an email to the 345 Park Avenue… Man that makes this situation even worse for the Browns. Sure it’s plausible that the Browns purposely decided to bungle the trade.However, I would imagine that the Bengals are pissed off right now. They were set to get a 2nd and 3rd round pick. And then it turned out that the deal didn’t go through because the Browns screwed up big time.

    Going forward, I think that other teams will think twice before trading with the Browns.

  18. Although this is an extremely embarrassing situation, the FO made their first smart move by not trading 2 pics for a back up QB.

    Ownership is the problem with this team as a 15-57 record shows. The fact that the owner signed off on this trade is a perfect example of why this team needs an experienced football exec to run this team. If Dee went ‘nuclear’ over this and not the team’s record over the past year and a half, God help us. At what point will the league step in a force the Haslams to hire someone to run this organization, much like the NBA and the 76ers.

  19. it Is interesting to see how certain divisions are. In the AFC, it seems as if
    New England and Pittsburgh almost have a free pass to the playoffs every
    year. Pittsburgh just stays the course .. being conservative on
    it’s first round picks and being 50 percent successful on its later picks, this
    is enough to overcome the bumbling of its divison foes.,

  20. goofball Haslam, and his ding-a-ling wife are the root of the problem. what a bunch of idiots. Cleveland deserves so much better. The season ticket holder are being conned. Note to fans: stop supporting this abortion of a franchise. Hit them where it hurts. Nothing changes until the fans stop supporting this garbage.

  21. The problem with the complaints about the Browns not selecting Wentz or Watson is that everyone assumes that the Browns would have gotten the same players that the Eagles or Texans have. Unless there is some alternate reality where those players could have brought their current team with them, those two would have been horrible as Browns players.

    It isn’t just the QB, it is the rest of the team. I have no doubt whatsoever that if the Browns had selected Watson and the Texans would have taken Kizer later in the draft, the storyline would have been how the Browns had bungled the draft by taking Watson (who would have almost certainly been horrible as the Browns QB) when they could have taken Kizer (who would probably have been great as the Texans QB).

    Wentz is great because he is surrounded by the Eagles roster. Watson has been great because he is surrounded by the Texans player. The same with Prescott and the Cowboys. Put any of them on the Browns and they would have been horrible. At the same time, put Kizer on the Eagles, or the Texans (or the Cowboys) and he would probably have been a star.

    As long as the QB the Browns pick is surrounded by Browns players, they are going to “bungle’ the pick. It doesn’t make any difference who they select.

  22. Dee, I appreciate your passion. I think you’re an awesome human being. You shouldn’t get mad at your front office because you shouldn’t have hired them in the first place. However, had they successfully traded for McCarron, it would have been a big blow to your franchise. The guy is not an NFL quality QB. Not even close. He would be the 4th best QB on your team. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t clean house. You should fire them for wanting McCarron.

  23. harrisonhits2:

    I do not think you’re aware, along with 207 (at the time of writing this) others, of how the salary cap system works.

    The amount of money available to use for player salaries is static, yes, but it is NOT revenue an individual team can collect: it is revenue that is shared among 32 teams for the explicit purposes of providing players with salaries and benefits.

    Now, teams are required to spend 89% of their salary caps between 2013-2017 as per the CBA. There is room for rollover, however, and that is precisely how the Browns (and the 49ers, who have a cap number less than $5 million of what the Browns currently have) have accumulated the cap space.

    You don’t buy an NFL franchise to rob the salary cap: it can’t be robbed. It’s not individual revenue, and it MUST be spent on salaries and player benefits. I may be overlooking some legal technicalities here, but from what I’ve been able to gather, you’re so far off the mark it’s ridiculous. Even if an owner could pocket the 11% leftover outside of CBA regulation, that would PALE in comparison to what they already make in shared TV revenue and the millions even a team like the Browns still bring in in ticket sales, merch, etc. An NFL franchise is still a goldmine; Haslam may be a terrible owner, but the goldmine only gets richer if you dig harder. Every owner understands that, and not one owner is uninterested in putting a terrible product out to the public.

  24. I have nothing against the Browns personally & I feel bad that they have been horrible for long, but I love the fact that this is happening based off the fact that they are trying to run the team like moneyball. Analytics works in baseball where there are 162 regular season games. It doesn’t work in football. You don’t win without a franchise QB. If you don’t spend money and sign solid free agents, you won’t win.

  25. They had that guy and let him go. He’s currently collecting rings in Massachusetts.

    Do you even football? You know that those browns moved right? I think the browns are bumbling dingledorf’s but let’s not trash this browns organization by saying they let B.B. go. That team is in Baltimore so to even make this comment is really quite embarrassing.

  26. I agree with harrisonhits2 comment above. The Browns are acting like they never made a trade before. If the process is for simply each team to send the same terms in an email to the league, then why didn’t the Browns submit anything? The team is giving the fans the appearance that they are trying but they aren’t

    However, it’s hard to believe that you just send an email to the league with no signatures or any official paperwork and a trade just occurs. It seems like there would be a little more formal process in a multi billion dollar industry. This story sounds fishy from all sides.

  27. “My wife has birthed more children in the last two years than they have wins. ”
    —————————————-

    Winner…. come get your prize. That was fantastic.

  28. Man I fell really bad for Brown’s fans. Most teams ate at least good for a couple seasons every decade. The sad part is AJ would have been another bust for them because the team around him is so bad. The Browns are the exact opposite of the patriots. Worst pro football team ever.

  29. harrisonhits2 says:
    November 1, 2017 at 9:04 pm
    This is all just lip service from owners who kept the team 41 million under the cap last year and a whopping 63 million under this year.

    The top 24 teams under the cap in 2017 are 12 million or less, which equates to a huge 51 million+ gap in player personnel budget.

    The Haslams are scam artists who bought the Browns to replace their Pilot FlyingJ con once that got busted. They have zero intention of ever putting a winning product on the field, it would simply cost too much and not let them pull every last penny out of the team that they can, thereby screwing the fans, players, coaches and GM, while laughing all the way to the bank.

    Yes, that may all be true, but the Team is now worth multiple times what the Haslams paid for it, and that’s all they care about. We all found out that ‘crime pays’ with their fuel scam that they we’re allowed to personally skate away from – And just like The Clipper’s when their clown owner for ‘fonrced to sell’ and uh… forced to sell for 2 billion… BILLION for an NBA team! what do you think this team will have to sell for to get it away.

  30. toadie72 says:
    November 1, 2017 at 8:58 pm
    They had that guy and let him go. He’s currently collecting rings in Massachusetts.
    ============================================================
    The franchise that had that guy is now in Baltimore.

  31. Toadie,

    For the record, the guy collecting rings in Massachusetts was fired by Baltimore Ravens owner Art Modell.

    Belicheck was the coach of the Browns when Modell betrayed Cleveland and moved the team.

  32. After the draft and through training camp, Browns looked like they might actually be on the up-and-up and on track to maybe even field a semi-competitive product by 2019 or so. Ridiculous how this continues to occur year after year. Bet Josh Gordon can’t wait to come back.

  33. First, many of you have no idea what you are talking about-esp. toadie and harrisonhits2 but someone else has already corrected your erroneous ideas.

    Second, as at least one other person pointed out and as much as it galls me to see Watson and Wentz playing lights out, they would not have done the same thing in Cleveland. We don’t have the talent yet. I see great strides in the defense and the O-line is much better, but we have no name receivers (maybe Josh Gordon still has it) and I’m not convinced the play-calling is any good at all. We do, however, have great running backs so we are on a trajectory to get better…but I am concerned about coaching.

    Third, even as a fan, I knew darn good and well that Kizer was not ready to start for this team. He had a tough time at ND so I don’t know why Jackson thought he would to well starting. All it’s done is screw with his confidence-the same thing I’ve watched happen to untold numbers (around 28 or something) of quarterbacks.

    Fourth, I think the FO actually helped them out because McCarron isn’t that good either.

    Fifth, God truly hates Cleveland because some of the stuff that has happened is just plain bizarre. I mean, they looked pretty good pre-season but again injuries, bad trades, players not doing their jobs, coaches not doing their jobs, weird stuff happening in plays, idiots in the FO, Johnny Football, Josh Gordon, and the hits just keep on coming.

    And finally, one last comment. I read somewhere that Peyton Manning is a good friend of the Haslams and while I do not believe they could convince him to come to Cleveland to take over operations, I just have to wonder if they ever ask the man for advice…he has a great football head so if he is indeed their friend, ASK FOR HIS HELP!!!

  34. toadie72 says:
    November 1, 2017 at 8:58 pm
    They had that guy and let him go. He’s currently collecting rings in Massachusetts.

    How many times is this going to come up? For the last freakin’ time, Bill was fired by the team that eventually became the Ravens, after the season, after they moved. He has no beef with this city or team (other than the town still hates him for cutting Bernie). Get over it.

  35. NFL needs to set up twelve new franchises, in a 2nd division, and RELEGATE the bottom 8 performers in the top division each season. Play hard, or get relegated and loose massive revenue.

    Teams like the Browns couldn’t hoard cap space, and just play for high 1st round picks…. to then squander fruitlessly while the owners keep the cash.

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