The Cleveland Browns parted ways with general manager John Dorsey on Tuesday after failing to come to an agreement on a restructuring of the front office.
The decision to move on from Dorsey after two years comes two days after the Browns fired first-year head coach Freddie Kitchens.
Dorsey, 59, had a meeting with co-owner Jimmy Haslam earlier on Tuesday. Multiple media outlets reported that Haslam was considering structural changes and wanted Dorsey to take a backseat in the organization to the new head of football operations.
“We have a great appreciation for John and all he has done with the Cleveland Browns,” owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam said in a joint statement.
“He has helped create a foundation that we need to continue to develop and build upon. While John helped greatly improve our team’s talent and we are excited about the core players on our roster, we fully recognized that our team did not meet its potential on or off the field and additional changes in leadership give us the best opportunity for success in the future.
“As the role of the general manager continues to evolve in this league we felt there were areas that needed to be reassessed. Over the last 48 hours, we’ve had discussion with John about his role but could not come to an agreement on a position that would enable him to remain with the organization.”
The Haslams stressed that the head coach-general manager relationship is vital.
“As we conveyed on Sunday and our players reiterated yesterday, bringing in a strong leader with our head coach is our priority,” the Haslams said.
“Our process to improve upon the leadership will allow the flexibility to ensure we create the best partnership between our future head coach and general manager. We know the road of our tenure as stewards of this franchise has been a test of patience as we all want the success that our fans so deserve and we are relentlessly committed to and working towards. We fully appreciate, understand and empathize with our fans as we work towards our ultimate goal of building a championship-level football team.”
Dorsey did not dispute the importance of the general manager-coach relationship in a statement released by the team.
“When I took this job, the history of this storied franchise and the passion of our fans was an integral part of my decision,” he said. “It’s that same understanding and desire to see these fans enjoy the success they’re so deserving of that helped me conclude, along with Jimmy and Dee, that it was best to part ways as they embark on the search for a new head coach.
“I know how critical the relationship is between a general manager and head coach and I also know how critical it is that the Browns have a strong leader in their next coach. I have a great appreciation for the men and women I have worked with since being in Cleveland and my family has the same love and appreciation for this community and are thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this journey.”
Dorsey arrived in Cleveland in December 2017 as the team was in the midst of an 0-16 season. He took advantage of a number of assets accumulated by former general manager Sashi Brown and acquired wide receiver Jarvis Landry and safety Damarious Randall before selecting Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield with the top overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Nick Chubb, who was selected with the 35th pick in that draft, went on to finish second to Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry for the rushing title in 2019.
Dorsey would also acquire wideout Odell Beckham Jr., running back Kareem Hunt and defensive end Olivier Vernon, but the high-profile moves resulted in a 6-10 season. The Browns capped the disappointing campaign on Sunday with a 33-23 setback to the Cincinnati Bengals, who finished with a 2-14 record.
—Field Level Media