Step back from the ledge, Cleveland Browns fans.
NFL analyst and former personnel man Michael Lombardi has been hired as the vice president of player personnel, according to the team’s website. He is not the team’s general manager and will likely not have final say on draft-day decisions and trades.
Lombardi has been out of the game for a number of years but has found his way back to Cleveland. He worked with Bill Belichick in Cleveland back in the late 1980s and early '90s.
This was expected: Don’t act so shocked and surprised that Joe Banner brought in a guy he’s familiar with and shares similar philosophies with.
Besides, Lombardi is to be a member of a committee, not a dictator charged with shaping the team’s roster in his image.
Rob Chudzinski, the Browns’ new head coach and Joe Banner, the team's CEO, will work alongside Lombardi in order to improve an already budding young team.
Banner’s reasoning for this hire makes perfect sense. Lombardi is an experienced NFL personnel man that knows the language, strategies and financial ins and outs of the game.
But what exactly will be expected from the former personnel man?
He will likely be charged with everything that Banner will be unavailable to do, like managing the team’s scouting department and draft preparations. Basically, his duties will include what your typical general manager does without the added stress of financial issues and coaching decisions.
Sure, he will definitely need to use his cap experience to help shape and form a competitive roster, but other people will be working with him on this. General managers typically have that as their duty, but that won’t be his title in Cleveland.
Lombardi will work with players, currently on the roster and potential acquisitions.
Ultimately, how much power will he have in the war room on draft day?
That is where things grow murky.
Banner is a long-time football man that found exponential success in Philadelphia. He is not going to default final say to either Lombardi or Chudzinski, especially with so much on the line during this transition.
Bringing in Lombardi is a smart move for him because, if he plays it right, he can create plausible deniability for himself on draft and personnel mistakes.
In the end, cohesion in the front office and locker room is the best formula for success on the field. Lombardi’s past successes and failures will factor into the process but they alone will not cripple or create the future of the Browns.