Cleveland Browns fire general manager Ray Farmer
By Thomas Moore
The Cleveland Browns have fired general manager Ray Farmer just two years into the job in yet another house cleaning under owner Jimmy Haslam.
The Cleveland Browns fired general manager Ray Farmer and head coach Mike Pettine on Sunday.
The team announced the move on its website and issued the following statement:
“We greatly appreciate Ray and Mike’s dedication and hard work while with the Cleveland Browns,” owner Jimmy Haslam said. “We’ve made this decision because we don’t believe our football team is positioned well for the future. We are all disappointed with where we are and I take full responsibility.
“We will approach the search for our next football coach and executives to lead our football operations with a clear vision regarding what we need to do to build a successful organization. We will be methodical in looking for strong, smart leaders with high character who are relentlessly driven to improve our football team, willing to look at every resource possible to improve, and who embrace collaboration to ultimately make the best decisions for the Cleveland Browns.
“We are fully committed to bringing our fans the winning organization they so clearly deserve.”
Farmer’s two years as the Browns general manager were a mixed bag, but one that ultimately contributed to the team’s 10-22 record during his tenure.
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He becomes the third general manager fired by Haslam since Haslam purchased the team in 2012.
Farmer stood firm in his commitment that the Browns could get by without playmakers at the wide receiver position, and squandered first-round draft picks on cornerback Justin Gilbert and quarterback Johnny Manziel.
He also made several questionable decisions in free agency, from completely mishandling the contract negotiations with center Alex Mack to giving wide receiver Dwayne Bowe a contract with $9 million in guaranteed money; and was suspended for four games for illegally texting the coaching staff during games.
But Farmer also drafted guard Joel Bitonio and signed several productive players as undrafted free agents.
Farmer was long considered a general manager in waiting when the Browns promoted him to the position.
“The idea in my mind is to get Cleveland back to a championship-level football team,” Farmer said at his introductory press conference. “We need to get away from the negativity and get to the point where people are proud of the Cleveland Browns and what the organization stands for.”
It may not be all his fault, but Farmer certainly did not deliver on that promise.
Haslam will now begin yet another search for a general manager from a list of candidates that should include, among others, Eliot Wolf, Green Bay Packers director of pro personnel; Eric DeCosta, Baltimore Ravens assistant general manager; and Nick Caserio, New England Patriots director of player personnel.
The Browns will reportedly also consider promoting Sashi Brown, the current executive vice president/general counsel, to take over the football operations.
The Browns will also reportedly “go hard” after Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase as their next head coach, fueling speculation that they will then hire Denver quarterback Peyton Manning in a front office role, reuniting Manning with his former offensive coordinator.