Who’s next in Cleveland?


With Browns coach Mike Pettine and G.M. Ray Farmer expected to be ushered out of Cleveland as soon as Sunday night (and with both likely having plenty of interesting stories to tell), it’s unclear who will replace them.

As PFT reported on Saturday night, and as Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer confirms, the Browns are expected to make an aggressive and immediate push for Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase. The Browns wanted Gase two years ago, but he opted to remain with the Broncos on the heels of a Super Bowl XLVIII appearance.

The commitment to chasing Gase before hiring a G.M. underscores that the G.M. in Cleveland isn’t nearly as strong as General Managers elsewhere. It also confirms that owner Jimmy Haslam and team president Alec Scheiner have much more involvement in football operations than perhaps they should.

Unless Gase will be getting Belichick-style power with a G.M. in name only to set the table for the coach, the idea of hiring a coach before hiring a G.M. turns the usual approach on its head, putting a G.M. in the gulf between being a true G.M. and being the coach’s sidekick.

But that’s pretty much where Farmer has resided for the last two years. He didn’t hire Pettine; Pettine already had the job when Farmer was promoted following the surprise termination of G.M. Mike Lombardi and CEO Joe Banner. At a time when 49ers G.M. Trent Baalke could be hiring his third head coach, Farmer could be gone without hiring even one.

Which gives rise to the question of why any candidate with options would opt to become the G.M. of the Browns. Eliot Wolf’s name has been swirling, especially since his Hall of Fame father’s name has emerged in a vague capacity with the Browns.

Many believe that Eliot Wolf, the Packers director of player personnel, is on deck to replace Ted Thompson in Green Bay. Of course, Eliot Wolf could have his cake and eat it, a la John Schneider in Seattle. The De Pere native owns Packers stock and a contractual clause that would allow him to leave the Seahawks to become G.M. of the Packers. Eliot Wolf could ask for the same kind of term — and Haslam would have little choice but to agree to it.

It would be an all-in move from Eliot Wolf, who would be trying to quickly prove that he can perform the way Schneider has in Seattle during the final years of Thompson’s time in Green Bay.

It’s also possible that Wolf wants to make his own legacy not in the place where his father’s career reached its heights. If that’s the case, he may want to wait for another opportunity in a team where the General Manager really is the General Manager.

49 responses to “Who’s next in Cleveland?

  1. The only coach who will get this job is someone who signs in blood to not only keep Johnny Football, but play him. And no coach will take this job under that condition. So it could get interesting.

  2. If Haslam is going to clean house again (which I think would be a mistake), he should go about it the right way — first hire a good, solid football man to serve as GM, and let that GM pick a coach with whom he is familiar and with whom he is on the same page. Then let the GM pick the players and let the coach run the locker room. That’s the standard way of running an organization, and it’s the standard way because it tends to work. Last time, Haslam made the mistake of choosing a coach first. It didn’t work. A billionaire businessman ought to know enough to learn from his past mistakes, shouldn’t he?

  3. If this is how it goes down in Cleveland, it will be typical of their organizational dysfunction. As I’ve said before, their loyal fans deserve much better…

  4. If Haslam and Scheiner do the hiring they will follow their same path of dysfunction. Bring in a football guy to at least consult and offer some guidance, they need all the help they can get!

  5. “It also confirms that owner Jimmy Haslam and team president Alec Scheiner have much more involvement in football operations than perhaps they should.”

    Between the homeless guy convincing him to draft Manziel, 3 GM’s and 4 Coaches in 4 years of ownership it’s safe to say any involvement by Haslam in football operations is much more than than there should be. Who ever would have thought someone could make Randy Lerner look good?

    Browns fans deserve a better fate.

  6. If they’re determined to hire Adam Gase as the head coach, and he agrees to it, it could be seen as a sign that the team already has an agreement with Peyton Manning to become the next Browns GM.

  7. I feel sorry for Browns fans. Haslam is inept and the Browns probably will be too if he’s calling the shots.

  8. If he is in such demand, why would Gase choose to go to a situation where he has a demonstrably incompetent meddlimg owner, a requirement that he play an all-in party boy of questiomable pro skill, and no GM with any record of sound personnel development, in perhaps the hardest division in the NFL?

  9. The Browns should be dissolved and all the players and coaches released from their chains, and then a real city should build a new team from the ground up. J Manziel should have no place in the NFL.

  10. One thing to consider,any up and coming inexperienced head coaching candidate could take the Brown’s job and do no damage to his future career. Getting fired from the Browns would not look bad on the resume, might even be a positive entry. Plus, it is experience as a HC.

  11. where’s the little baby Manziel and his concussion? Vegas??

    Hopefully Manning will come in and straighten this crap out and CUT Manziel.

  12. The RIGHT coach is more important than the G.M. Sure picking a G.M. first is better but not at the cost of missing on the right coach.

    Just because you are hired before your boss is hired doesn’t mean you don’t have to follow him.

  13. The homeless guy will be the next head coach..

    He’s being run thru one of Haslam’s car washes at the truck stop, shave and a hair cut and back to business as usual.

  14. Cleveland Browns remain the only franchise that generates pity and sympathy from fans of other teams, not scorn and anger. It’s an interesting phenomenon.

    People hate NE and its fans, Dallas and its fans, Green Bay and its fans, etc. etc. But nobody seems to outright hate Cleveland and its fans – instead, we want to give them a reassuring pat on the back and a warm chocolate chip cookie.

  15. the interesting reality regarding nfl leadership positions — GM and head coach — is that demand exceeds supply. this year there will be many openings for both positions, and there simply aren’t enough qualified candidates to fill all the spots.

    so there is an increased likelihood that the least attractive teams — those with meddling and / or cheap owners, no franchise / elite qb, disinterested fan bases, small markets — will be at the bottom of the food chain and end up with bad leadership.

    so the cycle of mediocrity will continue for them. yes this means you Cleveland !

  16. @barrymichaels61
    Browns should consider Joe Philbin or Tony Sparano.
    I know you jest. Right?

    What a mess of a franchise.
    Hmmm, have you heard of Miami?

  17. No wonder things are so screwed up in Cleveland. You have 2 non-football types mudding up the water with their great insight. Plus, there is no “chain of command.” Each, the GM and the HC reported to Truckstop Jimmy. No wonder they couldn’t work together, they were competing with each other.

    Add in the fact that Jimmy inherited most of his success from daddy, and has repeatedly demonstrated that he is a lousy businessman, having to cheat us truck drivers to get ahead.

    The city, the taxpayers, and the fans have suffered enough. NFL, either get a legitimate football organization in place, or leave!

  18. Ah, the off season. US Browns fans favorite part of the season. I say trade a first round pick to Arizona for Arians.

  19. As a Browns fan (yeah I’ll admit it), it doesn’t matter. It’ll take more than 2 years to turn around this mess, get a clue Haslam. Here’s an idea, fire Farmer becuase that will be the least disruptive to the franchise. He blew through four 1st rounders in two years! Let the new GM decide if wants coach Pet for another year or if he wants his own guy. Don’t fire both right away. If he wants his own guy he better have him lined up before he cans coach Pet.

  20. Doesn’t make sense that Chip Kelly land here? Not many coaches will give the Browns a look. Kelly may have a problem getting a new gig. Kelly would relish the challenge, especially if he got full control. Of course, he would likely cut Manziel.

  21. The last top management that Haslam chose at Pilot Flying J got him a federal fraud indictment and $92 million fine.

  22. not a browns fan…. but they do have the coolest looking uniforms in the league…….that burnt orange and dark brown really look great!!!…..seriously!!……

  23. If the GM and head coach, whoever that might be, are working together, being a sidekick shouldn’t be an issue.

  24. If Gase is such an attractive candidate why does he need to go to Cleveland where there is a broken front office setup and questionable talent at starting QB? On top of this, why repeat the unsuccessful model of hiring a coach before the GM? And to add insult to injury, they changed their uniforms for a new look but in the end they end up looking worse.

  25. Gase would be out of his damn mind to take this job. You could put ANY coach in the league in that city, it’s going to have the same result as long as the franchise continues to be run the way it has. Not a lick of respectable consistency when you keep the revolving door spinning year after year.

  26. First thing Haslam has to do, is hire Geralt of Rivia to lift the curse from Cleveland… Then he can ask the homeless guy for directions

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