The Cleveland Browns lost another lead front office executive—their fourth in the Jimmy Haslam era. Someone had to take the blame for another disastrous season for the NFL’s worst team. This time general manager Sashi Brown took the long, lonely walk to the guillotine.
Everyone knows why Brown’s head rolled on a dreary Thursday for the Browns.
The team failed to take Carson Wentz in the 2016 NFL Draft and then passed on Deshaun Watson in 2017. Two of the league’s best young quarterbacks played elsewhere when they had every opportunity to come to Cleveland. Combine that with this season’s 0-12 record, and there was no question the blade was falling at some point.
“We have great appreciation and gratitude for Sashi’s commitment and leadership to our organization but believe transitioning to someone with strong experience and success in drafting and building consistently winning football teams is critical to the future of the Cleveland Browns,” Haslam said in the statement, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Dianna Russini.
The key word in Haslam’s goodbye soliloquy is building.
He owns a bad football team that has to be built from the ground up. Building a winning team capable of sustained success takes time. Granted, the Browns should have considered moving up in the draft to select either Wentz or Jared Goff in 2016, but it’s hard to fault the decision-making behind choosing defensive end Myles Garrett over Watson.
As great as Watson looked at Clemson, Garrett was by far the safest draft selection for the Browns. He was a player they could pick and incorporate into their system right away. Meanwhile, Watson would have to adjust to an NFL system, while also playing on a team lacking in offensive talent.
Although the Browns have struggled this season, Sashi’s work in the 2017 draft has put them in a great position for the future. The Browns picked up a pair of future defensive standouts in Garrett and Jabrill Peppers, and tight end David Njoku could turn into a special offensive talent with more experience. Receiver Corey Coleman, the first-round pick from 2016, could also be a prominent force playing across from Josh Gordon.
All of that prospective talent exists, and the Browns are still perfectly positioned with five picks in the first two rounds of the 2018 draft. Impatience is the only reason why Sashi lost his job. It’s also the reason why the turnover rate for coaches in Cleveland is so awful.
Like his predecessors, Haslam expects Rome to be built in a day. Not even the greatest coach in NFL history, Bill Belichick, was able to survive the chopping block in Cleveland.
Sashi never stood a chance.