It’s critical that the 2020 Browns consist of a power structure that resides at all times on the same page. That apparently wouldn’t have happened if Vikings assistant G.M. George Paton had taken the G.M. job there.
Via Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com, Paton removed his name from consideration for the Browns G.M. job because Paton “had a number of issues he had to work through, and wasn’t entirely comfortable with how it would all play out.” Paton also left his second interview with “some questions about the power structure and the division of labor.”
Paton’s decision to stay in Minnesota caps a process that Paton was leery to even commence, given his belief that Andrew Berry was the top choice for the job.
It seems, based on Cabot’s article, that chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta wants Berry and that new coach Kevin Stefanski wanted Paton. Which, if accurate, becomes the latest example of a high-level power struggle with strong “I told you so” potential if when Berry, now the presumptive favorite to get the job, doesn’t work out.
According to Cabot, Paton spent roughly eight hours at team headquarters in Ohio on Tuesday for his second interview. He left unsure whether it was a good fit.
In addition to working with Stefanski, the G.M. also will have to navigate DePodesta, a four-year employee (that’s like 40 in Browns years) who seems to be acquiring more power and influence as key figures like Sashi Brown, Hue Jackson, John Dorsey, and Freddie Kitchens come and go.
Paton went before he even arrived, which for him was the right call. While coaches head often get a second chance if the first stop doesn’t work out, General Managers usually get one bite at the apple. They need to make it the best bite they can.