Adam Schefter of ESPN has reported that the sale of the Cleveland Browns has been completed, with Randy Lerner selling the team to Jimmy Haslam III for more than $1 billion. Lerner will not have any long-term ownership in the team.
The sale comes in two phases:
- Jimmy Haslam will take controlling interest of the team with the first portion of the sale, which tops out at more than $700 million.
- At a later point, Haslam will pay another $300 million to gain full ownership of the Browns.
Obviously, the biggest question in all of this revolves around what will happen to the current front office and coaching staff, mainly president Mike Holmgren. There is a very real possibility that he could be gone at the end of this season (despite having two more years on his contract), and a major change in ownership could simply fuel that move even further.
As for general manager Tom Heckert and head coach Pat Shurmur, the likelihood of them being ousted seems low. Haslam would not have much incentive to clean house immediately, especially if the team shows any signs of improvement this season.
Look for Haslam to speak to the Cleveland media within the next two days.