Browns G.M. Ray Farmer has been revealed as the previously-unknown personnel executive who sent text messages to the coaching staff during games regarding play calls.
A league source has told PFT that the messages actually went to a non-coaching employee on the sidelines, who then relayed the information to a member of the coaching staff.
And while the messages may have been actually sent by Farmer (or at a minimum with his phone), the real question is whether Farmer did it on his own or whether he did so with the knowledge or at the direction of folks above him in the organization. Such as, for example, the owner of the team.
The best evidence as to whether Farmer is simply the fall guy could come from whether his employment continues once the decision on discipline is announced. If owner Jimmy Haslam doesn’t fire Farmer for his role in #TextGate (especially after Farmer drafted Johnny Manziel at a time when the Browns knew or should have known that Manziel was a ticking time bomb), some (such as me) will suspect that Haslam is displaying loyalty to the guy who absorbed the #TextGate bullet.
Or maybe Farmer isn’t the fall guy. Maybe he was acting entirely alone. Maybe, just maybe, a key employee of Haslam’s billion-dollar business would deliberately and blatantly violate the rules under Haslam’s nose without Haslam knowing anything about it.
This time around, it apparently would cost far less than a $92 million fine to get the powers-that-be to accept that story.