Cleveland Browns fans, we can feel your pain. A little over one year after being named general manager of the Cleveland Browns, team owner Jimmy Haslam felt it was time to move on from Michael Lombardi.
Here’s what Haslam said today in a statement on Lombardi:
“He is an experienced and creative NFL executive with a unique ability to see the big picture. He has tremendous instincts and I know he’ll be a valuable addition to any NFL organization.”
The Browns are now tied for having the most GMs in the NFL since 1999 with seven.
This is one of the most head scratching moves in the history of the NFL. Lombardi was never given a chance to show what he could do, and he was poised to have a huge off-season.
Cleveland has two first round draft picks (4th and 26th overall), 7 total picks in the first 4 rounds, and $46 million dollars in cap space this off-season. All of that flexibility means in one year, Lombardi would have had a great chance at turning the Browns into a perennial playoff team.
During the season, Lombardi also pulled off a trade that now looks like a steal. He traded Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts for a 2014 first round pick. With the Colts, Richardson fell apart averaging just 2.9 yards per carry, scored only 1 touchdown, and was surpassed on the depth chart by Donald Brown. He basically got away with highway robbery.
And what does he get for all his hard work? A pink slip.
For a franchise that hasn’t made the playoffs since 1999, which is only the longest post-season drought in the NFL, how is this move justified to what is a highly passionate and frustrated fan base?
The answer: it’s not. Lombardi was the only good thing going for this team and how he’s gone.
Ray Farmer was immediately promoted to general manager after previously serving as assistant GM under Lombardi. Team CEO Joe Banner announced today that he too will be stepping down.
What happened today in Cleveland exemplifies why the Browns have a reputation of being the worst run organization in all of sports.