When Browns Executive Vice President of Football Operations Sashi Brown and Vice President of Player Personnel Andrew Berry met with the media in the team's pre-draft press conference earlier this week, one of the messages they tried to communicate was that there was no division within the organization.
While Brown admitted that, 'our job really isn't to agree, our job is to get decisions right,' he and Berry wanted to make it clear that all is well at 76 Lou Groza Boulevard.
But if Friday's tweets from CBS Sports' NFL insider Jason LaCanfora are to be believed, all is not right in Berea. In fact, it's starting to feel like deja vu all over again:
Continue to hear Browns coaches all-in on Garrett but front office more Trubisky in later stages of process and owner badly wants a QB...— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) April 21, 2017
Hue Jackson has built up a lot of currency and coach/front office divides continue there. As process has gone on owner been asking about...— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) April 21, 2017
QBs and as decision makers go around the room why so few banging drum for a QB at 1st overall. They'd love to solve this via trade...— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) April 21, 2017
Garoppolo would appease the owner and buy some time and allow them to still take Garrett. Belichick knows all of this of course. Hold tight— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) April 21, 2017
So let's translate this. While Browns coaches seem to want Myles Garrett, the front office is being pushed by owner Jimmy Haslam to get a quarterback.
Where have we heard this song and dance before?
Let's travel back to 2014, shall we? The Browns came into that draft with two first-round picks with new GM Ray Farmer and new Head Coach Mike Pettine working in a shotgun marriage that Haslam forced when he fired CEO Joe Banner and GM Michael Lombardi two months earlier.
The Browns traded down from the fourth overall pick, taking CB Justin Gilbert with the number 8 pick and collecting a 2015 first-round selection from Buffalo. Then, as Johnny Manziel's stock was plummeting, came the dreaded text.
"I wish you guys would come get me. Hurry up and draft me because I want to wreck this league together."
That was the text Manziel sent to then-Browns QB coach Dowell Loggains. As Loggains explained to an Arkansas sports talk show host a few weeks after the 2014 draft, "When I got that text, I forwarded it to the owner (Haslam) and to the head coach (Pettine). I'm like, 'This guy wants to be here. He wants to be part of it.' As soon as that happened, Mr. Haslam said, 'Pull the trigger. We're trading up to go get this guy.'"
The Browns moved up four spots to No. 22 and took Manziel.
That decision effectively destroyed Mike Pettine's tenure in Cleveland and along with Gilbert's failure, set the Browns organization back at least five more years.
If LaCanfora's tweets are to be believed, Haslam wants to get into the quarterback game again.
Look, I get it. Everyone in Browns Nation has been clamoring for the team to finally identify, develop, and win with a franchise quarterback. The pressure is mounting from all sides. The Browns really will never be a relevant NFL playoff contender until they find the quarterback.
Or as we used to say on The Bruce Hooley Show: "It's the quarterback, stupid!"
But NO ONE believes that any quarterback in the Class of 2017 is worth taking first overall.
The Browns can't afford to screw this up. Myles Garrett is considered by most experts to be the finest prospect at any position to come out in the NFL Draft since Andrew Luck was taken first by the Colts in 2012.
This is not the time to jam a quarterback in because you think it will make a splash. Garrett is too good. You take him and immediately your pass rush will be improved.
Now if Jimmy Garoppolo can be had at the right price, then by all means, go get him.
If you take Garrett first overall, then have the desire to trade up to take Mitchell Trubisky or Deshaun Watson, go for it. That's what all of those draft picks that have been stockpiled are for.
But if the Browns do what they've done so many times in the past: act rashly, fly by the seat of their pants, and then pass themselves off as the smartest guys in the room...then don't be surprised if we're writing this same piece again in three or five years.
Because that's how far back this organization will have fallen again.
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