Speaking of "You Be the GM" ...
The Cleveland Browns fired GM Mike Lombardi and CEO Joe Banner Tuesday as part of a full-blown front office shakeup that, if you're keeping track, falls right in line with everything else Cleveland has done of late.
To review: buy team, fire everyone, hire front office, hire coach, play 1 year, fire coach, hire coach, fire front office, hire GM. Onward.— Rich Eisen (@richeisen) February 11, 2014
That being said, two separate reports surfaced late Tuesday that illustrate how the Denver Broncos have had a direct effect on the Browns' 2014 front office changes. We're all aware of how Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase shaped the Browns coaching search, but apparently he had an effect on their GM hunt as well. And a conversation between Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and Broncos QB Peyton Manning may have been the nail in the coffin for Joe Banner.
The Adam Gase Effect
NFL.com reported that the Browns had been planning on firing Lombardi for some time, and that their plans changed a bit when Adam Gase finally declined Cleveland's offer to interview for their head coach position.
Rapoport also reported Tuesday that firing Lombardi was not a new thought. Had they hired Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase, the Browns wanted to pair him with Seattle Seahawks executive Scot McCloughan, according to a source informed of the team's thinking.
Rapoport doesn't offer any further context, so it's not clear why the Browns needed one in relation to the other. Why wouldn't the Browns go after McCloughan either way? What was the point of this intended pairing beyond being able to boast a Super Bowl duo?
This is the kind of cart-before-the-horse thinking that defines dysfunction, Jimmy Haslam. Speaking of JH...
The Peyton Manning Effect
File this squarely in the rumor department, but according to one report, Haslam spoke with Broncos QB Peyton Manning, and the future Hall of Famer's words sunk deep. Via Dawgs by Nature -
Lombardi leaving was a foregone conclusion. But what really shook it up is when JH met with manning behind closed doors in Den #Browns— MF Jones (@CONCEDE) February 11, 2014
I'm told Peyton told JH that the franchise would always be behind as long as Banner was there. Nail in coffin. #Browns— MF Jones (@CONCEDE) February 11, 2014
Lending credence to this rumor is the Cleveland.com's Mary Kay Cabot, who expands upon the relationship between Haslam and Manning:
The Peyton Manning Factor: Haslam currently has no CEO in the front office. My guess is that he'll offer that job to Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning someday. He loves Manning, they're great friends, and he's watched what John Elway has done in running the Broncos. Manning will play at least one more season to break Brett Favre's record for TD passes, but might be lured into a CEO role after that. The day Haslam agreed to purchase the Browns, I asked him if he'd bring Manning aboard, and he praised Manning, saying among other things, "he's very smart.''
It's fascinating how big an impact the orange and blue have had on the orange and brown this offseason with just a few words, but it seems the Broncos have played a major part in shaping the Browns' 2014 season - and beyond.
Perhaps it'll become another in a long list of reasons why Browns fans can hate the Broncos.
Or, if these front office changes work out, thank them.
Big thanks to reader Ricky Huff for the tip.