NFL Football

Jimmy Haslam's move to fire Sashi Brown all about the 2018 draft

BEREA, Ohio — Jimmy Haslam clearly agreed with one key point that Sashi Brown conceded in early November: The Cleveland Browns do not have a roster capable of winning in the NFL.

That’s the evident reason Haslam decided that now is the time to get rid of the structure he personally built and sold after the 2016 season.

One win in two seasons, missing on the drafting of Carson Wentz and DeShaun Watson and the botched trade for A.J. McCarron do not paint a good picture for a winless team’s front office.

The owner saw what was taking place, then had to ponder the notion of the same people making five picks in the first two rounds of the 2018 draft.

He clearly didn’t like it.

The ultimate irony, though, is that the man who said before the season that 2018 would be the time to measure the success of the rebuild fired the guy who set the team up in the draft for success in 2018 and beyond.

At this point, it appears that coach Hue Jackson has won the power struggle. Though the structure of the team has yet to be determined, Jackson seems to have carried the argument that the personnel decisions made it impossible for him to win.

Haslam now has fired four general managers/front-office leaders since he took ownership of the team on Oct. 25, 2012. The next hire will be the fifth front-office leader in five years.

The signs of fissure were readily apparent in Berea, though, and they went beyond the selection and non-selections of quarterbacks.

Hue Jackson started the conversation in London, where he said his team as built had to be perfect to win a game and perfection is impossible in a human game.

Brown continued it when he addressed the team’s status soon after and said it was up to the people in the building to make sure disagreements didn’t split the team. While he preached unity, the team kept losing.

The divisions were apparent over time, evidenced by the fight the coaches conducted to make sure Myles Garrett was the No. 1 pick in the 2017 draft, and the lack of input from the coaches before the signing of Kenny Britt and the drafting of Cody Kessler.

While the team insisted there was collaboration between camps, word got out that the assistant coaches felt their input was not considered.

Jackson, meanwhile, spoke volumes early in the season when he was asked if his roster could win this season. He said to ask Brown and his staff.

Whether this move works depends on the thing that could have saved Brown’s job. Brown set the Browns up for the future with five picks in the first two rounds of the 2018 draft.

That will be the most appealing facet of this job to the next hire — the ability to shape the team with the upcoming draft. It certainly was appealing to Brown, who now will watch someone else make the picks.

What will be interesting to see is whether Jackson gains control over personnel. It would make sense from his point of view, but it may affect the person the Browns could hire to take over personnel.

That will play out.

The one shift that is evident: The Browns will rely less on analytics and algorithms, and more on traditional football and scouting.

The other evident reality: Anybody who takes a job with the Browns should rent.

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