The Browns are poised to make a mind-boggling gaffe even before they hire their next coach.http://www.ohio.com/sports/browns/marla ... e-1.458234
They’re prepared to lose Assistant General Manager Ray Farmer and keep General Manager Mike Lombardi.
I’m flabbergasted by that possibility because it should be the other way around.
I can’t believe the Browns would choose Lombardi over “one of the up-and-coming stars in the NFL,” as Browns CEO Joe Banner described Farmer in September.
I can’t believe owner Jimmy Haslam hasn’t realized the folly of what he said at the NFL owners meeting in March. “I’ll be surprised if Ray’s not a GM in the next few years, which will be good and bad news for us,” Haslam said, conceding that one day Farmer would work for an opponent.
That doesn’t have to happen.
Haslam could tell Banner that Farmer's running the day-to-day operations and overseeing stadium upgrades, but not picking the players. He could tell Lombardi to head back to the NFL Network. He could hand Farmer those 10 selections in the May draft, those two first-round picks to find a quarterback of the future and a reported $46 million in salary cap space and let him go to work.
I’d have much more faith in where the Browns are headed if Haslam and Farmer were leading them.
The chance Farmer could leave the Browns arose Wednesday when the Browns gave him permission to interview for the Miami Dolphins GM vacancy.
A league source, speaking on condition of anonymity because the two teams had yet to comment, confirmed that for the Beacon Journal.
Farmer has all the credentials to be a GM. A linebacker for the Philadelphia Eagles for three years, Farmer joined the Browns last season after spending 2006-12 with the Kansas City Chiefs, where he was director of pro personnel. He worked four years as a scout for the Atlanta Falcons. A four-year letterman at Duke, Farmer served as the Blue Devils’ football academic coordinator after ankle and knee injuries ended his career with the Eagles.
Farmer’s mentor is former Browns guard John Wooten, now chairman of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, which advocates the hiring and promotion of minority candidates in the NFL.
Wooten said Farmer is ready for the next step. He called Farmer’s talent evaluation skills “excellent” and lauded his people skills.
“That’s why we put him in Cleveland last year,” Wooten said in a telephone interview Thursday. “He’d done the college, he’d done the pro. We wanted him in a situation where he could learn the nuances of office administration, how you communicate with the league, all of that. We know that he’s more than ready.
“He represents everything we want to see. We want the hard work, the dedication, the commitment, above all the ability to study and make yourself better all the time. He has all that. He’s not a selfish person.”
Now Wooten wants Farmer “to have the opportunity to run his own show.” That doesn’t mean Farmer’s departure from Cleveland is a certainty. Wooten has issues with the Dolphins’ organizational structure that might keep him from recommending Farmer take the job if offered.
“You’ve got to bring in more cohesive people in terms of the coaches working together with the personnel department and the front office and the ownership,” Wooten said. “All of that has to be working together. There’s a reason why certain teams win and certain teams don’t win and it’s not always because of the players they have on the field.”
Wooten was speaking about the Dolphins, but he might as well have been talking about his old team.
The article does seem to be overly optimistic of Farmer's potential, but it's nice to dig into some of his background.