John Dorsey is “not completely safe” in Cleveland

Getty Images

As the Browns prepare, by all appearances and indications, to part ways with coach Freddie Kitchens as soon as tonight, the question becomes whether that will be the end or the beginning.

Questions have emerged regarding the status of G.M. John Dorsey. As one source with knowledge of the dynamics in Cleveland explained it to PFT on Sunday morning, Dorsey is “not completely safe.”

On one hand, the firing of Dorsey would be a surprise, and unwarranted. Dorsey arrived during the 2017 season, and he promptly began infusing talent into the organization. Remember the rash of trades in early 2018, which showed that the Browns were serious about turning things around? Then, Dorseys’ decision to pounce on quarterback Baker Mayfield with the first pick in the 2018 draft was viewed as a stroke of genius; Dorsey also added cornerback Denzel Ward four picks later and, one round later, likely 2019 rushing champion Nick Chubb.

Earlier this year, Dorsey finagled a trade for gamebreaking receiver Odell Beckham Jr., which created even more excitement in the aftermath of last year’s 7-8-1 record. Dorsey also rolled the dice on 2017 rushing champion Kareem Hunt, who became available after last year’s off-field ugliness prompted the Chiefs to cut him loose.

But with the good comes the not-so-good. Dorsey is believed to have been the driving force behind bringing offensive coordinator Todd Haley to town in 2018, over the objection of former head coach Hue Jackson, who wanted to continue to be his own offensive coordinator. It didn’t work out, spectacularly.

Then, Dorsey was the guy who wanted to make Kitchens the head coach, even though he hadn’t been groomed for the gig. It hasn’t worked out, somewhat spectacularly.

Despite Mayfield’s strong performance as a rookie, his regression in 2019 coincided with the rise of Lamar Jackson, a budding superstar whom the Browns easily could have had in 2018, given the cluster of picks in the first two rounds. It’s not a stretch to think that Jimmy or Dee Haslam have raised the question, subtly or otherwise, as to whether Dorsey considered Lamar Jackson instead of Mayfield, especially since Jackson has become the league MVP with the team that used to be the Browns. Dorsey was still the G.M. in Kansas City when the Chiefs traded up to get Patrick Mahomes; it’s natural to wonder what Dorsey saw, or didn’t see, in Jackson.

It’s also natural to wonder whether the 2018 or 2019 version of Baker Mayfield will be the version of Baker Mayfield in 2020, and beyond.

Then there’s the Beckham trade, which sold tickets and jerseys but didn’t produce results. The Beckham move ultimately calls into question Dorsey’s team-building skills. The Browns have talented players, but who are the leaders? Who are holding people accountable? How do the strong personalities fit together? Who is grooming Baker Mayfield, getting him to properly direct his intense competitiveness in the right direction, while avoiding some of the issues that arise from time to time?

The X factor in the final analysis could be chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta. At one point during the season, rumors were swirling that DePodesta could be bumped ahead of Dorsey on the pecking order. That didn’t happen. Recently, however, a league source suggested that, if DePodesta were willing to relocate on a full-time basis to Cleveland, DePodesta would have a much larger role in the organization.

DePodesta’s influence becomes a more significant consideration, for now. With two years’ worth of fodder for “I told you so,” the Haslams could decide that the next best thing to DePodesta calling the shots on a full-time basis would be hiring a G.M. that DePodesta hand selects.

Again, this doesn’t mean Dorsey will be out. He may get another year, or more. But as the source said there’s a chance that ownership will decide not only to change coaches but also to change General Managers when the dust soon settles on the 2019 season.

39 responses to “John Dorsey is “not completely safe” in Cleveland

  1. His biggest mistake was taking Ward over Bradley Chubb to pair with Garrett. He should be fired just for that mistake alone

  2. John Dorsey has a pretty good track record. Haslam needs to keep his trap out of football operations and give Dorsey a full five years. Haslam listening to a wino to draft Johnny Football is all you need to know why the Browns are horrible.

  3. Seriously doubt the Browns could do what the Ravens did with Jackson. Mayfield has potential so probably more upside to keeping Dorsey and showing Kitchens the door….

  4. Dorsey has done a good job of bringing in talent, but he ruined it by putting someone in charge who had no business being in charge. It would be like a Nascar team building an awesome car and then bringing in a dirt track driver to drive it.

  5. The problem is not Dorsey. The problem is not Mayfield. The problem it’s not OBJ and Landry. The problem is not kitchens. The problem is not the offense of line. The problem is not a lack of control. The problem is if it looks like brown and smells like brown, well it’s the Browns

  6. Dipodesta will make this call imo. He has the juice right now after this hire went terribly, and we all know Dorsey wanted Kitchens probably because he could control him.

    The next question is if Dorsey is gone, the next GM definitely might not be on board with Mayfeild who Dorsey fell in love with and drove that pick.Dipodesta will make this call imo. He has the juice right now after this hire went terribly, and we all know Dorsey wanted Kitchens probably because he could control him.

    The next question is if Dorsey is gone, the next GM definitely might not be on board with Mayfeild who Dorsey fell in love with and drove that pick.

  7. I think Dorsey is as good as anyone else except BB. Giving Freddie the reins was in’hindsight’ a bad decision. He does not put the ‘fear of god’ into the players like BB or most other succesful coaches.

    They need a head coach who can contain=prima donna players.

  8. Dorsey’s management style and poor salary cap management got him fired in KC. Sounds like maybe history is repeating itself with his tenure in Cleveland. The guy is good enough at bringing in talent, but the organizational management aspect of it just doesn’t seem to be his forte.

  9. I don’t get all the Dorsey love from Clevelanders? There are negatives listed above, and yeah he totally whiffed on not taking Bradley Chubb, Ward is very good when healthy, but Chubb and Garrett would have been gamechangers. Apparently he wanted Haley as HC after Jackson was fired, thank God that got squashed. He has done nothing for that O-Line, except draft some bums and try to trade for a 31 year old Trent Williams. Dude has been mediocre at best, and the Browns… Same ol Browns.

  10. If we are going to have success, we can’t keep a revolving door of organizational leadership. Also, it isn’t helpful if there are major conceptual differences between factions in the front office. While it is great to have different opinions and healthy debate, at the end of the day, you need an organization moving in one direction.

    The owner has to determine what that direction is. If Dorsey and DePodesta are at odds and that is causing problems, Haslam has to choose which one is going to lead the way.

    Seems like the coaching hire was a dud and some of the players were questionable, but Dorsey has brought more talent to the team than we’ve had in a long time. I’d ride with him for a while.

  11. The big mistake is the coach. When you have collection of players that talented and then handed them to a coach like Kitchens is such a waste. Another lost opportunity.

  12. Dorsey obviously executed his gameplan.And it obviously has not been successful, for various reasons (one of which being “hype”).

    But acquiring talent is not the same thing as acquiring the right talent.

    In hindsight Dorsey was too much like Philly’s Dream Team debacle.
    But hindsight was never required, talking heads such as Marc Sessler said back in March 2017, “John Dorsey casts his spell, turning the once dead-zone Browns into a Madden roster dreamt up by a 13-year-old with a liquid-pound of sugar running through the bloodstream.”

    We all somehow knew this would happen.


    …because Cleveland.

  13. He was dumb to trade for OBJ. He’s going to be a problem until they are smart enough to get rid of him. OBJ still has $56M over four years left on his contract. The good news for the Browns is they can cut him and not have any dead money. The bad news is they gave away a first-round pick and Jabril Peppers to have that clown for one year. Way to sabotage your own team.

    I think signing Landry was a mistake too. He is still owed ~$40M over the next three years. The good news is they can get rid of him this off-season and save ~$10.5M although they would have $4.5M in dead money.

    Those two are 2nd and 3rd in highest salary cap number next year. They could probably replace them with draft picks and save all that money–and all the headaches. They could use the money they would save and go out and sign some offensive linemen.

  14. Dorsey should’ve fired Kitchens the moment after players started swinging helmets. He didn’t & lost me.

  15. I dont care about Dorsey or the Browns or what they do but you cant go cleaning house every other year/two years just because you didnt win. Well you CAN but then youd be what the Browns have been under Haslam.

  16. Mike McCarthy will install both discipline and a solid, predictable program. More, I’d trust him to guide Baker.

    McCarthy is a good coach. A winner. His program just became stale over the years.

  17. There is something called winning character, and the teams that have it, win. The GM’s that don’t understand what winning character is all about, lose. It has nothing to do with coaching, especially when the GM that doesn’t understand character is also the guy that hires the coach. I don’t expect the casual football fan to understand that, but an owner needs to. Otherwise they’re making changes every year or two. Sound familiar Browns’ fans?

  18. Cleveland would be total fools to let Dorsey go. He’s BY FAR the best front office person they’ve had in YEARS. Replace Kitchens- he’s in over his head.

  19. Dorsey is a tough call. He’s definitely helped improve the Browns, but he’s made some serious mistakes. If Kitchens was his hire, that’s a big negative. That one move killed the team’s momentum and development.

    Kitchens is an easy call: he’s got to go.

  20. He drafted and put together the KC team. He in one year added 3 starters for the Browns. If his biggest issue is the HC decision, you bring in a coach with cache. Landry and OBJ ran over both of their previous coaches, you need someone who wont lay down and allowed to be walked on.

  21. Since 2005, no GM in Cleveland has lasted more than 3 seasons. If you fire Dorsey, who will you get to replace him? (Sure, there are only 32 opportunities for being a GM, but if you’re a top tier candidate, why would you go to a team that will more than likely fire you in 3 years?)

    The Browns haven’t been great, but they haven’t been awful either. I think the Browns should keep him if nothing more to show that they are a stable franchise.

  22. DePodesta doesn’t even live and work in Cleveland. He lives in san diego. The fact an organization would think about blowing everything up and give control to a guy who’s never worked in football and lives in another state is asinine.

  23. Dorsey erred in pushing for Kitchens. Was it because he wouldn’t want to share power with an experienced Head Coach (i.e. Andy Reid)? Well, that will dictate moving forward.Rivera. Mccarthy. Meyer. All of them will want more authority. DePodesta is a HUGE part of the fiasco that was 2016-2018. Give him more power? Are you insane? Park your ego John. You have a lot to offer this franchise. Go get a STRONG HC that will turn this Day Care center into a organized football team.

  24. The fact that Dorsey hired Kitchens is all you need to consider when evaluating whether Dorsey should be retained. The GM has 3 major responsibilities; talent acquisition, salary cap management, and hiring the head coach. It seems to me that Dorsey excels at the first, was fired from him last job for the second and completely whiffed on the third.

    Time to move on.

Leave a Reply

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

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.