The Browns are less than two years removed from firing their coach, cleaning out the front office, and handing the reins over to baseball guy and analytics darling Paul DePodesta. They also hired Hue Jackson as head coach and Sashi Brown as general manager, and this was supposed to signal a new, more sensibly guided era in Cleveland.
Jackson guided the team to a 1-15 record in his first season, got into a power struggle with Brown, and is 0-12 so far this year. Brown, meanwhile, was canned today:
The losses are what they are, and were expected to come given that DePodesta initiated a Hinkiesque rebuilding plan. It might seem unfair, then, that Brown was fired despite loading the organization up with a stockpile of draft picks and plenty of cap space. But the most important position in the league is quarterback, and Brown traded away the picks that eventually became Carson Wentz and Deshaun Watson. DeShone Kizer, the rookie QB he eventually settled on, has been so bad this year that the Browns might be looking to take another QB at the top of this year’s draft.
Those sorts of swings and misses can be tolerated during a tanking campaign in the NBA—Hinkie blew his share of high draft picks, but the team is still set up pretty great for the future because there are only five guys on the court, and two of those guys are Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons—but football is a totally different beast. There are only so many shots at acquiring a good quarterback, and it’s only after the Browns did so that all those young players and acquired draft picks could really start to matter. There was also that whole trade deadline snafu, in which Brown either sabotaged his own trade or just made a dumb fuckup.
Brown’s replacement will be the eighth GM the team has had since 1999, the most of any team in the NFL during that span. And if Jackson goes 0-16 this year, can the team really justify keeping him around for a third season? Maybe DePodesta will eventually lead the Browns out of the wilderness, but so far all he has to show for his efforts is a bunch of draft picks, a 1-27 record, an embarrassing non-trade, and a high-profile firing with another to possibly follow. It’s the same old shit.