George Paton would add instant credibility to the Cleveland Browns

The Cleveland Browns are reportedly close to hiring George Paton as general manager. He would bring instant credibility to the front office.

Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com reported Monday the Cleveland Browns are close to hiring Vikings assistant general manager George Paton as their next general manager, potentially as early as this week. Paton is a well-established and respected front office executive who would bring credibility to the Cleveland front office.

Browns owner Jimmy Haslam is obsessed with the term 'alignment.' And with good reason. It seems that no front office he has put together during his ownership has been aligned with the coaching staff.

Paton and head coach Kevin Stefanski would absolutely be speaking the same language in regards to running a franchise, having both been key parts of the Minnesota Viking franchise for the past 13 years.

But the hiring of Paton would be a home run hire just based on the fact that Paton is and has been a highly sought after commodity in the NFL. It seems every offseason we hear Paton's name come up in general manager searches around the league, only to have him pull his name out of the running.

Paton is very thorough and would only jump at the correct opportunity to become a general manager on his own. It sounds like the chance of working with Stefanski is the opportunity Paton has been looking for.

And in regards to current Eagles Vice President of Football Operation and former Browns Vice President of Player Personnel Andrew Berry, Paton simply has the better resume and experience necessary to lead a front office. Paton has been Vikings general manager Rick Spielman's right hand man for the last 13 seasons. During that tenure the duo has earned six playoff trips and been a part of two NFC title games.

Spielman's brother, Chris, who is a former Browns linebacker and current Fox analyst told Cabot:

"I think it would behoove the Browns to do everything in their power to hire George,'' Spielman told cleveland.com. "It makes the most sense for Kevin Stefanski as a [coach-GM] team.'' - Chris Spielman via Cleveland.com

It seems obvious that Paton should be the Browns No.1 target when it comes to finding its next general manager. However, these are the Browns and they have been eyeing Andrew Berry for this position, just like they did at head coach with Stefanski.

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It would be in Jimmy Haslam's and Paul DePodesta's best interest to resist the temptation of bringing back Berry and instead hire Paton. A legitimate personnel executive who would bring credibility to an organization that has been lacking it for so long.