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On the last day of 2019, the Cleveland Browns continued their restructuring, parting ways with general manager John Dorsey after two seasons. The change came two days after head coach Freddie Kitchens was relieved of his duties, following a 6-10 season.
While Cleveland is often known for building up change, only to tear it down, this one comes following a season of hope that ultimately didn’t live up to the hype. What’s different about this offseason is the foundation that Dorsey has laid. It leads to a simple but intricate question: What’s next?
Eliot Wolf is promoted to general manager; Mike McCarthy hired as head coach
These two have worked together from 2006-2017 when McCarthy was first hired as head coach of the Green Bay Packers.
In that time, Wolf had held nearly every front office job for Green Bay, which culminated in his departure to become the assistant general manager of Cleveland. It’s assumed by many that Wolf is a future general manager in the NFL.
With the history these two have together, they could potentially build a team similar to what they had in Green Bay. This would work out very well for some pieces including wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and quarterback Baker Mayfield, as they run a more west coast scheme.
Given that Beckham is better with short passes (as seen with the New York Giants) this direction could really open up McCarthy’s playbook.
Josh McDaniels becomes the head coach, brings in one of his boys
In his first tenure as an NFL head coach, New England Patriots offensive coordinator McDaniels went 11-17. However, it wasn’t the record that called for his termination, it was over allegations of a spygate type scandal.
Since then, McDaniels has been plotting his return to the head coaching world.
Should McDaniels take Cleveland’s head coaching job, one thing that will follow is that someone he trusts will come in as general manager.
The likely choices are former Kansas City Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli (shares the Patriots’ way with McDaniels), Patriots’ director of player personnel Nick Cesario, Patriots pro scout director Dave Ziegler or even McDaniels himself. This could be McDaniels last chance as a head coach, which he wants to make sure he gets it right wherever he goes.
The “Analytics Team” takes over
The man leading the charge for the next Browns head coach is Paul DePodesta, the man who along with Billy Beane, brought the idea of “Moneyball” to baseball.
When he was first brought in, the “Moneyball” idea was started, then general manager Sashi Brown backed out midway through when he noticed the results were going the wrong way. DePodesta will more than likely stick to his strength for the long haul.
In the past few searches, DePodesta wanted Sean McDermott (who ended up going to the Buffalo Bills) instead of Hue Jackson, then wanted Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski instead of Freddie Kitchens.
With Stefanski more than likely being mentioned in numerous head coaching searches, it wouldn’t be shocking to see him offered a job. More than likely, that would see an Andrew Berry type general manager brought in to create essentially a trifecta of analytical-minded people in charge.
A Chief replacing a Chief
After John Dorsey departed from the Kansas City Chiefs, Brett Veach was brought in to replace him. Now with Dorsey out of another job, one of the top prospects for general managers is Mike Borgonzi, a 10-year scout who got his hands dirty when it came to talent like quarterback Patrick Mahomes and tight end Travis Kelce among others.
Coincidentally, one of the most recent names in the Browns head coaching search has been Eric Bieniemy, Kansas City’s offensive coordinators.
Considering how special the Andy Reid coaching tree has been as of late (McDermott, Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson and Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy), Bieniemy could be the next to be hired.