he Cleveland Browns fired executive vice president Sashi Brown, but are retaining head coach Hue Jackson for another season despite his 1-27 record with the team.
Brown, who was named the team’s top executive by owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam during an overhaul following the 2015 season, was relieved of his duties on Thursday. In announcing his dismissal, Jimmy Haslam said Brown was told the team “is going in a new direction.”
Jackson will remain on the job and will return for the 2018 season, “but we feel it is necessary to take significant steps to strengthen our personnel department,” owner Jimmy Haslam said in a statement.
The Browns are expected to cut ties with other front-office members as the team reshapes its front office again.
“We have great appreciation and gratitude for Sashi’s commitment and leadership to our organization but believe transitioning to someone with strong experience and success in drafting and building consistently winning football teams is critical to the future of the Cleveland Browns,” Haslam said in the statement.
The Browns will immediately begin its official search for a new general manager, its ninth since the franchise returned to the city in 1999, though it quietly has been inquiring about others around the league for weeks now, ESPN reports.
Former Kansas City Chiefs general manager John Dorsey is expected to emerge as a lead contender for the Browns’ GM job.
The Browns, 0-12 this season, were 1-27 with Brown in control of personnel.
Brown leaves a Cleveland team that traded away the picks that became Carson Wentz and Deshaun Watson, but also an organization that has stockpiled picks for future drafts and created more salary-cap space than any team in the league.
The team also failed to execute a trade for Cincinnati Bengals quarterback A.J. McCarron seconds before the NFL’s Oct. 31 trade deadline, when the proper paperwork did not get processed, making a trade that looked like it was going through, fail in an embarrassing way.
This team actually is well positioned for future years, so whoever takes over will inherit some of the riches that Brown helped build.
The Browns have six extra picks in April’s draft — an extra first-, two extra second-round picks, an extra fourth-round pick, an extra fifth-round pick. Right now, the Browns also have $59.25 million cap space this year that they can roll over into next year, when they already are scheduled to have another $38.6 million of room, giving them almost $100 million in salary cap space.
“The 2018 draft and offseason is pivotal for our franchise, we need to ensure that we maximize our opportunity for success; with our picks, free agency and building our roster,” Haslam said in the statement.
Thursday’s shakeup continues to be the norm for a team that is considered the NFL’s most unstable franchise. Since returning to Cleveland, the Browns had had eight different general managers — Brown, Ray Farmer, Michael Lombardi, Tom Heckert, George Kokinis, Phil Savage, Butch Davis and Dwight Clark.