Opinion: Jimmy Haslam Right To Let Go Of John Dorsey
Written by Brandon Lewis on January 2, 2020
Photo credit: clutchpoints.com
The Browns finished the 2010’s the only way the Browns know how: Not having a head coach or general manager.
After the Browns received a beat down from the lowly Cincinnati Bengals in their final game of the 2019 NFL season, Owner Jimmy Haslam decided that head coach Freddie Kitchens was not the right leader for the team going forward, so he fired Kitchens after only one season, making Kitchens the fifth head coach Haslam has fired since taking over the franchise in 2012.
Most of the media was not shocked by the news as Kitchens looked clearly over his head as the head man, but what many people were shocked by was that General Manager John Dorsey was canned two days later, following a disagreement over the direction of the team moving forward.
In his two years as the leader in player personnel, many fans thought Dorsey did an excellent job at drafting and acquiring talent, but I disagree.
I broke down Dorsey’s moves into two parts. Part 1 consists of the end of the 2017 season when Dorsey took over until the end of the 2018 NFL Season. Part 2 consists of after the 2018 NFL Season until he was fired on Dec. 31 2019.
- Cut Kenny Britt (December 2017).
- Traded 2018 fourth-round pick and 2019 seventh-round pick to the Miami Dolphins for wide receiver Jarvis Landry(re-signed Landry at time of trade to a five year, $75.5 million dollar contract with $34 million guaranteed). (March 2018).
- Traded quarterback DeShone Kizer to the Green Bay Packers for free safety Damarious Randall(both teams also swapped 2018 fourth and fifth-round draft picks). (March 2018).
- Traded 2018 third-round pick to the Buffalo Bills for quarterback Tyrod Taylor (March 2018).
- Traded defensive tackle Danny Shelton and 2018 fifth-round pick to the New England Patriots for a 2019 third-round pick (March 2018).
- Traded cornerback Jason McCourty and 2018 seventh-round pick to the New England Patriots for a 2018 sixth-round pick (March 2018).
- Signed cornerback T.J. Carrie in free agency (March 2018).
- Signed right tackle Chris Hubbard in free agency (March 2018).
- Signed tight end Darren Fells in free agency (March 2018).
- Signed running back Carlos Hyde in free agency (March 2018).
- Signed cornerback Terrance Mitchell in free agency (March 2018).
- Signed defensive end Chris Smith in free agency (March 2018).
- Traded quarterback Cody Kessler to the Jacksonville Jaguars for a 2019 conditional seventh-round pick (March 2018).
- Signed quarterback Drew Stanton in free agency (March 2018).
- Traded quarterback Kevin Hogan to the Washington Redskins(both teams swapped 2018 sixth-round draft picks). (April 2018).
- Drafted quarterback Baker Mayfield No. 1 overall in the 2018 NFL Draft (April 2018).
- Drafted cornerback Denzel Ward No. 4 overall in the 2018 NFL Draft (April 2018).
- Drafted left guard/center Austin Corbett No. 33 overall in the 2018 NFL Draft (April 2018).
- Drafted running back Nick Chubb No. 35 overall in the 2018 NFL Draft (April 2018).
- Drafted defensive end Chad Thomas No. 67 overall in the 2018 NFL Draft (April 2018).
- Drafted wide receiver Antonio Callaway No. 105 overall in the 2018 NFL Draft (April 2018).
- Drafted defensive end/outside linebacker Genard Avery No. 150 overall in the 2018 NFL Draft (April 2018).
- Drafted wide receiver Damion Ratley No. 175 overall in the 2018 NFL Draft (April 2018).
- Drafted cornerback Simeon Thomas No. 188 overall in the 2018 NFL Draft (April 2018).
- Signed left tackle Desmond Harrison (May 2018).
- Traded cornerback Jamar Taylor to the Arizona Cardinals for a 2020 sixth-round pick (May 2018).
- Signed linebacker Mychal Kendricks (June 2018).
- Signed left tackle Greg Robinson (June 2018).
- Signed tight end Orson Charles (July 2018).
- Traded wide receiver Corey Coleman to the Buffalo Bills for a 2020 seventh-round pick (August 2018).
- Traded tackle Shon Coleman to the San Francisco 49ers for a 2019 seventh-round pick (August 2018).
- Traded wide receiver Josh Gordon and a 2019 seventh-round pick to the New England Patriots for a 2019 fifth-round pick (September 2018).
- Cut kicker Zane Gonzalez and signed kicker Greg Joseph (September 2018).
- Traded 2019 seventh-round pick to the New Orleans Saints for defensive tackle Devaroe Lawrence (September 2018).
- Signed wide receiver Breshad Perriman (October 2018).
- Traded running back Carlos Hyde to the Jacksonville Jaguars for a 2019 fifth-round pick (October 2018).
- Claimed safety Jermaine Whitehead off waivers (November 2018).
There’s a little bit of everything on this list. There are some home run hitters such as stealing Chubb in the second round in a deep running back draft, trading for Laundry, who has been an incredible wide receiver and leader since coming to The Land and nabbing a starting safety from the Packers for a quarterback whose not even in the NFL. There are some good value signings and picks such as T.J. Carrie and Terrance Mitchell in free agency, and Denzel Ward and Damion Ratley in the draft. However, there is more bad than good on this list.
Draft picks Austin Corbett, Chad Thomas, Antonio Callaway, Genard Avery and Simeon Thomas are no longer on the team. Taylor only started two games for the Browns in 2018, so trading a third round pick for him was not smart looking back. Trading the best corner the Browns had in 2017 in Jason McCourty to the best team in the AFC for the last 20 years for the pick that ended up being Simeon Thomas makes it look like Dorsey got hosed by Bill Belichick.
Free agency signings Carlos Hyde, Chris Smith, Mychal Kendricks, Olson Charles, Jermaine Whitehead, Breshad Perriman, Darren Fells and Greg Joseph are no longer on the team. Signing Chris Hubbard, who is at best a backup right tackle, to a five year, $31 million dollar deal with $15.5 guaranteed was not smart,
The home runs Dorsey hit were moonshots, but he struck out more than he put the ball in play the majority of the time. You cannot miss on over 50% on your draft picks and miss on 50% of your free agency signings and trades and get a good grade. By the typical grading scale, Dorsey did an average job.
- Signed running back Kareem Hunt (February 2019).
- Cut linebacker Jamie Collins (March 2019).
- Traded right guard Kevin Zeitler, safety Jabrill Peppers, a 2019 first-round pick and a 2019 third-round pick to the New York Giants for wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and defensive end Olivier Vernon (March 2019).
- Signed defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson in free agency (March 2019).
- Signed tight end Demetrius Harris in free agency (March 2019).
- Signed linebacker Adarius Taylor in free agency (March 2019).
- Signed offensive guard Eric Kush in free agency (March 2019).
- Signed offensive tackle Kendall Lamm in free agency (March 2019).
- Signed offensive guard Bryan Witzmann in free agency (March 2019).
- Signed quarterback Garrett Gilbert (April 2019).
- Signed safety Morgan Burnett (April 2019).
- Traded defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah to the Kansas City Chiefs for safety Eric Murray (April 2019).
- Cut cornerback Howard Wilson (April 2019).
- Cut wide receiver Ricardo Louis (April 2019).
- Cut safety Derrick Kindred (April 2019).
- Drafted cornerback Greedy Williams No. 46 overall in the 2019 NFL Draft (April 2019).
- Drafted linebacker Sione Takitaki No. 80 overall in the 2019 NFL Draft (April 2019).
- Drafted safety Sheldrick Redwine No. 119 overall in the 2019 NFL Draft (April 2019).
- Drafted linebacker Mack Wilson No. 155 overall in the 2019 NFL Draft (April 2019).
- Drafted kicker Austin Seibert No. 170 overall in the 2019 NFL Draft (April 2019).
- Drafted tackle/guard Drew Forbes No. 189 overall in the 2019 NFL Draft (April 2019).
- Drafted cornerback Donnie Lewis Jr. No. 221 overall in the 2019 NFL Draft (April 2019).
- Traded for offensive linemen Justin McCray from the Green Bay Packers (both teams swapped 2020 seventh-round draft picks). (August 2019).
- Traded 2020 seventh-round pick to the Tennessee Titans for wide receiver Taywan Taylor (August 2019).
- Traded 2020 fifth- and sixth-round picks to the Buffalo Bills for guard Wyatt Teller and a 2021 seventh-round pick (August 2019).
- Cut punter Britton Colquitt(replaced with “The Scottish Hammer” Jamie Gillan). (August 2019).
- Cut kicker Greg Joseph(replaced with kicker Austin Seibert). (August 2019).
- Cut tight end Seth DeValve (August 2019).
- Claimed wide receiver KhDarel Hodge off waivers (September 2019).
- Claimed tight end Ricky Seals-Jones off waivers (September 2019).
- Cut defensive tackle Trevon Coley (September 2019).
- Signed center JC Tretter to a three-year, $32.5 million dollar contract extension($23.6 million dollars guaranteed). (November 2019).
The second part of Dorsey’s tenure is harder to grade because it is more opinion based. If you still believe the big Beckham Jr. and Vernon trade was worth it, then you will give Dorsey a high grade. If you are like me, and you believe that the trade was not worth it when you look at what happened this past season, then you will give Dorsey a lower grade,
Just like in Part 1, Dorsey hit big time on some players such as Sheldon Richardson and Morgan Burnett. There are also players we are not so sure he hit on such as the entire 2019 draft class, Kareem Hunt(because we do not know if he is going to be around next season, and he did not play in enough games to judge him) and Demetrius Harris.
In my opinion, the trade that did not make any sense was the Ogbah trade. I get that at the time the Browns needed more safety help than defensive line help, but I am a big believer in having seven or eight elite defensive linemen. If I was building a defense in the NFL, I would build my defensive line first and worry about my secondary last. I want starter quality play out of my backup defensive line because I believe that if you can get to the quarterback without blitzing, and if you can rotate your defensive line throughout the game, you will be in better shape throughout the season because your lineman will not be tired by the fourth quarter, and your secondary will not have to cover for long because you are speeding up the quarterback’s clock.
For Kansas City this regular season, Ogbah had 5.5 sacks as a third down pass rusher. Vernon this season only had 3.5, They both played in ten games.
Eric Murray on the other hand only played in nine games (started only four), and he only had one pass defended. They both are free agents in 2020 so if both leave, it is clear Kansas City got more out of Ogbah than the Browns got out of Murray.
The other moves were mostly roster fill outs.
The one sticking point I have had on Mr. Dorsey for the last two years was his inability to address the offensive line. Going into the season, everybody who followed football knew that both the left and right tackle of the Browns were backups, and that it was going to be the downfall of the team. Dorsey went mostly defense in the 2019 NFL Draft. His only two non-defensive draft choices were Siebert in the fifth-round and Forbes in the sixth-round.
If Dorsey would have drafted or signed quality tackles, the Browns offense would have probably looked different. Mayfield would have probably looked more competent in the pocket, and the offense would have probably moved the ball more. Who knows? It might have kept Kitchens and Dorsey his job.
Whoever the next GM is, they MUST address the offensive line. Find a way to trade Hubbard’s horrible contract and sign Robinson back as a backup swing tackle if he is willing to be demoted. I’m not sold on Wyatt Teller as the right guard of the future either.
The Browns are projected to have about $53 million to spend in free agency in 2020 according to overthecap.com. Whoever Haslam hires as the head coach and General Manager must spend somewhere between $30 and $40 million on the offensive and defensive line. The Browns biggest free agents are projected to be Joe Schobert, Kareem Hunt, Rashard Higgins and Damarious Randall. Depending on who the Browns would like to bring back, use the $13-$23 million left over from the trenches budget and go from there.
Don’t worry about the money for now Browns. Worry about that at the end of the 2020 season. For now, spend every penny you can on upgrading the offensive and defensive lines. If it means trading Beckham to open up more cap space and/or upgrading the line(s), do it!
Dorsey’s tenure will all come down to quarterback Baker Mayfield. In his rookie year, Mayfield set the rookie record for touchdown passes in a season. He looked poised, calm, accurate and like a leader. However, this year under Kitchens, Mayfield regressed worse than anybody could have ever imagined. He was second in the league in interceptions, his accuracy got worse, he looked un athletic and scared in the pocket, and his leadership took a step back with all the nonsense off the field with his countless commercials, and his many facial hair looks. Now, with a new regime coming in, there’s nobody backing Mayfield. It’s put up or shut up time for the two-time walk on.
We’ve seen before Mayfield does not need a star wide out to be a good quarterback. He needs weapons, and he needs a wall to protect him just like any good quarterback does. We do not know if Mayfield is the Browns franchise QB yet. The only fair to evaluate Mayfield is by building a solid team around him that includes a good head coach, offensive coordinator, quarterback coach, weapons, an offensive line and a defense. That is something Dorsey did not do this last year in Cleveland, and it is the reason why he rightfully no longer has a job in the Browns front office.
Brandon Lewis is the Web Director for Black Squirrel Radio. Follow him on Twitter @brandonlewis_7 .