John Dorsey named Cleveland Browns general manager – NFL.com
It didn’t take long for the Cleveland Browns to unearth their next front-office figurehead.
Dorsey will control the Browns‘ roster and run the team’s draft and free agency efforts, sources informed of the situation told Rapoport and NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.
“Football is what I know, it is what I love, it is what I have worked my whole career at and I thrive on every element that goes into building a winning football team,” Dorsey said in a statement released by the team. “I have spent a majority of my football life with two franchises that also have storied history and I think I have a feel for the mentality of the fans in Cleveland and what it would mean to recreate the success this franchise once had.
“I also have quickly realized how passionate [Browns owners] Jimmy and Dee [Haslam] are about bringing a winning team to the city and would have not taken the job if I didn’t think the right ownership was in place. I am eager to work with Hue [Jackson], his staff, and our personnel department and help bring us the success these fans so deserve.”
Dorsey spent the past four seasons as general manager of the Chiefs before Kansas City surprisingly fired the experienced player evaluator in June.
Dorsey was named as a candidate for the job immediately after Brown’s dismissal, with Rapoport reporting the Browns recently hired a search firm to quietly vet candidates. That group spent the past month closely eyeing the 57-year-old Dorsey as a potential hire.
A Browns spokesman told NFL Network’s Steve Wyche that the team met its league-mandated Rooney Rule requirements, interviewing “multiple quality candidates” before hiring Dorsey.
The Chiefs amassed a 43-21 record under Dorsey and coach Andy Reid. A respected scouting talent, Dorsey oversaw drafts that added Travis Kelce, Dee Ford, Marcus Peters, Tyreek Hill, Kareem Hunt and Patrick Mahomes, but also missed on first-overall pick Eric Fisher and surprised scouts inside the organization by using a fifth-round pick on signal-caller Kevin Hogan.
The Browns have clearly broken course with their analytics-driven philosophy in favor of a scout’s scout in Dorsey who represents a more traditional approach to player evaluation and team building.
“We are thrilled to have John Dorsey lead our football operations,” Dee and Jimmy Haslam said in a statement issued by the team. “John has been immersed in the NFL for 26 years, won two Super Bowls, built sustainable winning football teams and is highly respected for his football acumen. We know we have a critical and very positive opportunity ahead of us to profoundly impact the foundation of this football team. Bringing in someone of John Dorsey’s caliber, his track record of success and his experience, significantly strengthens our opportunities to build a winning football team and that has been, and continues to be, what we want for our fans.”
If Brown inherited a bare-cupboard disaster in 2016, Dorsey is set up well to make quick progress. Cleveland houses more salary-cap room than a handful of small nations to go with a bushel of draft picks in 2018, including five selections in the first two rounds and additional picks netted from a flock of trades made by Sashi’s regime. Take a look at the 2018 haul:
Round 1: Cleveland, Houston
Round 2: Cleveland, Houston, Philadelphia
Round 3: Cleveland
Round 4: Cleveland, Carolina
Round 5: Cleveland, Kansas City
Round 6: Cleveland
Round 7: Cleveland
Brown was fired for a variety of reasons. It starts with the unforgivable 1-27 record over two seasons, an ugly mark that also falls squarely on Jackson. Even more unforgivable, Cleveland passed up the chance to draft a pair of game-changing quarterbacks in Carson Wentz and Deshaun Watson, opting instead to toil with Robert Griffin III, Cody Kessler, Dorsey’s former pick Hogan and DeShone Kizer.
Sitting at 0-12, the Browns are locked and loaded for the first-overall pick barring some unexpected win streak over the final four weeks.
The pressure on Dorsey will be intense to pinpoint and land a franchise quarterback, something the team has gone without since the days of Bernie Kosar so many decades ago. Prepare for speculation around Dorsey chasing Alex Smith, who is likely done with the Chiefs after this season. That would represent a safe option for the Browns, but it can’t come at the expense of finding a superior signal-caller in the draft.
To chart a better course, Dorsey must figure out the plan under center and assess whether he and Jackson can work as a cohesive, peace-loving combination. Endless incarnations of Browns front-office types have openly clashed with waves of hired coaches. Dorsey must be given the chance to pick his coach — maybe that’s Jackson, maybe it’s not — and build a trusting, workable relationship.
This is what’s been missing in Cleveland for a thousand moons, and nothing will change until this organization gets on the same page, lands the right quarterback, and steers itself out of dark waters toward a better future.