Cleveland Browns in the News: Jim Harbaugh Saga and Joe Banner Tidbit
Yet again, the franchise along the banks of Lake Erie found a way to garner headlines during the offseason. First, there were reports stating the team negotiated with San Francisco and would forgo multiple draft selections for the opportunity to hire Jim Harbaugh (this obviously preceded the hiring of Mike Pettine as head coach for the Browns). Additionally, it’s been noted that former CEO Joe Banner was willing to go over (newly hired) coach Pettine’s head and have the coordinators report to him instead of the man who spends hours and hours with those guys on a daily basis. Both news articles have been contested but for the sake of argument – I’ll provide some thoughts assuming each are true.
Potential Trade Discussion:
It’s been noted (just ask my friends and family) that I am not the biggest Jim Harbaugh fan in the world. However, I acknowledge that he is a tremendous football coach who has won on both the college and professional levels. If the Browns were near the cusp of winning a Super Bowl, I would have been fine with parting with a few draft selections (assuming there were not all first round choices) and pushing their chips to the middle of the table. This would have been under the assumption that the current coach was holding the team back.
As the team currently stands, I feel the price for Harbaugh would have been too steep. Even with a tremendous coach, I doubt he could have taken this team to the promised land (especially without a full slate of draft picks). Should things go awry with Pettine in the coming years and Haslam decides to go in another direction, the Browns could do a lot worse than Jim Harbaugh. Now with front office strife between the 49ers coach and general manager Trent Baalke, who knows what the future holds. Nonetheless, I’m looking at the here and now and am fully supporting Pettine.
Perceived Front Office Dysfunction:
This is an interesting situation, as successful businesses (and NFL franchises) would never operate this way. Most have a typical hierarchy in place where employees report their bosses, and that cycle continues until it reaches the owner. There may be some overlapping in responsibilities, depending on the type of business – but I cannot recall a functioning one that has management attempting to overstep his or her bounds and take the duties of his or her subordinate. The saying “there’s too many cooks in the kitchen” is apt here, and several voices in the Browns’ front office making personnel decisions is troublesome.
I understand why Haslam said the front office was cumbersome and the team will be “streamlined” going forward. This should eliminate the lack of productivity, arguments, insecurities, and ultimately the erosion of the team. Assuming this story is accurate, I applaud the owner for seeing what was occurring and made changes to his team. Who knows if Ray Farmer and Alec Scheiner are the guys who can get it done here – but it’s becoming extremely obvious that Joe Banner and Michael Lombardi were fighting an uphill battle. A fresh start was needed and these types of stories need to be as far away from Berea as possible.