In what is likely to be a series of major shakeups this offseason, the Cleveland Browns have fired general manager Ray Farmer, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com confirmed the news.
Browns coach Mike Pettine was also fired after the team's Week 17 loss, per the Browns' official twitter account.
Farmer was named GM in February 2014, and in that time, the franchise has taken no steps forward toward playoff contention, finishing 7-9 and 3-13 in his two seasons with the team.
More critically for Farmer, the Browns haven't received much of a return from the last two drafts, and free-agent signings Dwayne Bowe, Josh McCown and Ben Tate haven't remedied the team's offensive issues.
Rapoport, however, argued Farmer wasn't able to truly leave his stamp on the organization:
#Browns GM Ray Farmer may be fired without ever hiring a coach. Had 2 top picks forced on him: Manziel (Haslam's call), Gilbert (Pettine's)— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 3, 2016
Farmer only had himself to blame, though, for the four-game suspension handed down from the league as a result of text messages sent to team personnel during games. That punishment put Farmer on shaky ground to start the 2015 season, and the team's performance was the final nail in the coffin.
While Browns fans will hope a new general manager can reinvigorate the organization, many of the team's issues stem from even higher in the franchise. In February 2015, Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.comwrote a scathing critique of Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, with one of his sources calling Haslam "Jerry Jones, only without the football knowledge."
Replacing the owner isn't as simple as firing a head coach or general manager. Unless Haslam takes a more hands-off approach and lets the other front-office personnel and coaching staff handle their duties, the Browns will remain stuck in a malaise.
At the very least, Farmer's replacement will have some time to analyze this year's draft class and possibly have a say in who will be the team's next head coach, with Pettine following Farmer out the door.