New Browns Owner Jimmy Haslam Has Only Two Options

Bill SmithAnalyst IOctober 1, 2012

New Browns Owner Jimmy Haslam Has Only Two Options

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    NEWS FLASH—The Browns are not going to make the playoffs any time soon.

    After you recover from the news, give this some thought. His choices going forward are these: Do what you can to improve the 2012 Browns or let things ride as they are and use the top draft pick to change the future of the franchise.

    By the middle of October when he takes power, there will be very few free agents or coaching prospects available.  His options are very limited.  Mr. Haslam clearly realizes that.  He might be able to convince a handful of free agents that are older than rock to come back for one last part of a season.  Those names would include LB E.J. Henderson,  FS Oshiomogho Atogwe, WR Chad Johnson, TE Kellen Winslow and OG Stacy Andrews.

    Would that group of players increase our chances of winning two or three more games?  Maybe, but I would not put much money on that.  Right now I suspect the Browns will win two games the way things are going.  That would mean they might win five or six games this year.

    The down side is that young players like our WRs, O-line and OLBs will not get any better.  In addition there is almost no chance of any of the above players lasting more than a year.  So there would be little or no carryover to 2013.

Mr. Haslam's Other Choice

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    The other choice for Mr. Haslam is to let the 2012 season play out with a few minor changes to the coaching staff.  At this point, I think he would win the support of the fanbase by firing coaches Pat Shurmur, special teams Chris Tabor, and WRs Mike Wilson as well as Pres. Mike Holmgren. 

    In my opinion, Shurmur was not qualified to be OC let alone head coach.  I have written about that before.  On Dec. 20th, 2009 before Holmgren was hired, on Fryingpansports.com I wrote Is Holmgren the answer to the Browns problems?   I detailed Holmgren’s failures while the GM of the Seahawks.

    The special teams have been a disaster for the last two years.  The young WRs have not developed, which is one of the critical issues holding the offense back. 

    I would guess the natural choice for a replacement for Shurmur would be former Vikes HC Brad Childress.  He is an offensive coach and that is where the primary problems lie. 

The 2013 NFL Draft

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    Right now the Browns are tied with the Saints for the top pick in the 2013 draft.  The Saints have a much better roster and QB than the Browns.  The likelihood of the Browns having the top pick is very good.

    Also, this week there were a couple teams who clearly need to make changes at QB. Two of the prospective new starters might be Tim Tebow of the Jets and Brady Quinn of the Chiefs.  At this point neither of those guys is likely to make the Jets or the Chiefs better.

    In addition there are three or four other teams that should be looking for a new QB in the draft including the Cards and the Raiders.

    There are six potential first-round QBs in the 2013 draft.  If the Browns end up with the first pick, they should get three first-round and three second-round picks if they trade it.  That bounty of picks would go a long way to make the Browns competitive in the near future. 

The Browns Could End Up with the First Pick Overall in 2013

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    With so many teams needing QBs, the value of the 2013 first pick will skyrocket.  QBs are always pushed up the draft board because of the need for the position.  While USC’s Matt Barkley is the highest ranked QB, others like West Virginia’s Geno Smith and Virginia Tech’s Logan Thomas are also potential high picks.

    A trade should provide an extra first- and second-round picks in 2013 plus extra first- and second-round picks in the next two drafts.  In the near future I will begin to look at the Browns’ needs and which picks might make the most sense.

The Hope for the Future

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    There are way too many holes in the Browns roster to be filled with six picks in 2013.  That would give the team a chance to be competitive in '13 or '14 with the addition of some critical young FAs in each of those offseasons.

     

    That would give us some hope for the future.  But I am afraid to say that the 2012 season is already a lost cause.  And the loss of the Browns second-round pick for WR Josh Gordon will hurt even more.  The trade would give the Browns a future that would be as bright as the new ownership.

     

    There are several reasons for Browns fans to be positive about the team’s future.  The biggest reason to be hopeful is the new owner Jimmy Haslam.

     

    That’s what I think.  Tell us what you think.

     

    Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He edits http://fryingpansports.com

    Also listen to the best Sports Talk anywhere on the Internet and hear his sports show Monday-Thursday 6-7:30 PM EST on or http://mooheadradio.com/2.5/?page_id=21.  You can catch any interviews you missed on http://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/.