CLEVELAND — Apparently, finding a franchise quarterback in Baker Mayfield, an All-Pro caliber running back in Nick Chubb and Pro Bowl defensive back in Denzel Ward in the 2018 NFL Draft and trading for Pro Bowl wide receivers in Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. was not enough for John Dorsey to overcome the struggles of the 2019 season keep his job as general manager of the Cleveland Browns.
Just two days after firing head coach Freddie Kitchens following the team’s 33-23 loss at the Cincinnati Bengals (which dropped the teams record to 6-10 during the 2019 season), Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam parted ways with Dorsey. ESPN's Adam Schefter was the first to report the news.
The Haslam's released the following statement confirming the move:
"We have a great appreciation for John and all he has done with the Cleveland Browns. 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.
"As we conveyed on Sunday and our players reiterated yesterday, bringing in a strong leader with our head coach is our priority. 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 was hired by the Browns as general manager in December of 2017 after the organization parted ways with former executive Sashi Brown, the analytics-based executive under whom the team posted a 1-27 record before he was dismissed one month prior to the organization finishing out an 0-16 season.
Dorsey inherited a roster that was in shambles near the end of their 0-16 season in 2017, but with an arsenal of draft picks, which he used to not only build a corps of young talent, but also, arrange deals to acquire veterans like Landry and Beckham Jr., the front office leader infused plenty of skill players into the organization.
In his second professional season, Mayfield completed 317 of his 534 attempts (59.4 percent) for 3,827 yards and 22 touchdowns against 21 interceptions after completing 310 of his 486 throws (63.8 percent) with an NFL rookie-record 27 touchdowns against 14 picks during the 2018 season.
Additionally, Chubb rushed for 1,494 yards and eight touchdowns on 298 carries for an average of 5.0 yards per attempt during the 2019 season. Those successes built off of what Chubb was able to accomplish despite limited use over the first half of 2018, as he rushed for 996 yards and eight touchdowns as a rookie.
Although Dorsey found talented players like Mayfield, Chubb and Ward, he missed on other draft picks, namely offensive lineman Austin Corbett (second round, 2018), wide receiver Antonio Callaway (fourth round, 2018) and linebacker Genard Avery (fifth round, 2018).
Ahead of the deadline during the 2019 season, Corbett and Avery were traded to the Los Angeles Rams and Philadelphia Eagles, respectively, for future picks in the NFL Draft.
Those picks, as well as the deal for defensive end Olivier Vernon, which cost them veteran right guard Kevin Zeitler, and Kitchens’ hiring proved to be mistakes which cost Dorsey in the end.
Dorsey said the following on Tuesday:
"When I took this job, the history of this storied franchise and the passion of our fans was an integral part of my decision. It is that same understanding and desire to see these fans enjoy the success they are 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."