Browns

Browns dysfunction appears over Jimmy Garoppolo trade to the 49ers

Jimmy Garoppolo Cleveland Browns
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

When the New England Patriots traded Jimmy Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers on Monday night, it instantly became a Cleveland Browns story on Twitter. The Browns had been linked to Garoppolo for a long time and pretty specifically as a trade rumor during the 2017 NFL draft. In the trade wrap-up article on ESPN, Bill Barnwell recounts the rumor of a Browns-Pats “overture” during that period. As we all know, the Pats left that draft with Tom Brady, Jimmy Garoppolo, and Jacoby Brissett. The Browns ended up doing what they did and drafting DeShone Kizer. Less than a year later, the Pats have traded Brissett to the Indianapolis Colts and Garoppolo to the 49ers while the Browns still look to the future for their franchise quarterback to appear. The story may not impact Cleveland directly, but it is a nuclear bomb in Berea.

It’s the sport’s most important position, and the lack of real options at that position is setting this franchise back every minute that they don’t have that guy. Even in my “defense” of Hue Jackson, it’s couched in a feeling that we just don’t have enough information about Hue, because much of the roster is such utter garbage. That begins with the quarterback position. Nobody has been closer to Hue Jackson than media member Mike Silver, and regardless of whether you buy his defense, it’s interesting to see his insight into Hue’s opinions.

Even beyond that, the blame game breeze in Berea is currently blowing at a gale force wind. Benjamin Allbright is reporting that he received emails from Browns coaches who are livid that Sashi Brown and the front office went home at 5 p.m. before the trade deadline and didn’t even know the Jimmy Garoppolo trade had occurred.

It’s fine to be young and to place value in draft capital, but at a certain point, it’s front office malpractice to put together a roster like that of the Cleveland Browns. If that arbitrary feeling starts to get backed up by credible reporting that the Browns front office is not holding up its end of the bargain, it’s pretty illuminating. Who knows what this actually means though? Notice in Allbright’s tweets that he specifically says the coaches let Sashi Brown know about the trade. Does this mean that Sashi is the only one who left at 5 p.m?

Here’s the brutal, unfortunate result of perennial dysfunction: Everything about the Browns is true until it’s not. Is Jimmy Haslam seeking new leadership in his front office? You have to assume so. Is everyone on the hot seat in Berea right now? You have to believe so. Is there a power struggle between the front office and the coaching staff? It’s unequivocally true at this point.

Something I’ve discussed in depth on podcasts and on these pages is what I thought would happen if it came down to a power struggle between Hue Jackson and Sashi Brown in Berea. I’ve always maintained that if it came down to an us-versus-them scenario where Jackson is sitting in one chair and Brown sitting in another was that the football guy would win. I still feel like that today, although it might end up being nothing but losers all the way around. If the Browns are currently back into this level of disarray that the front office isn’t holding up its end of the bargain, and Hue Jackson is sniping at them through the media — even justifiably — how far are we from Jimmy doing what Jimmy does best and just firing everyone and starting over?