CLEVELAND — Another season and yet another debate ensues about the power structure within the Cleveland Browns’ front office after Dee and Jimmy Haslam “mutually parted ways” with general manager John Dorsey on Tuesday afternoon.
According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, Dorsey’s departure could be one of many within the Browns’ personnel department as the Haslams go in search of their fifth head coach since taking over a majority stake in the franchise in October of 2012.
“Some key members of the personnel team assembled by John Dorsey have begun exploring work opportunities elsewhere,” Fowler wrote. “As one source said, it feels like they lost the battle to chief strategist Paul DePodesta, whose presence lingered in the Browns’ building the last two years.”
Despite a lack of experience in the National Football League, DePodesta was hired by the Haslams in January of 2016, and along with executive vice president Sashi Brown, instituted an analytics-based model for building the organization.
In DePodesta’s first two seasons with the franchise, the Browns went 1-31, including the second-ever 0-16 slate in NFL history. Brown was dismissed with four games remaining in the 2017 regular-season, but DePodesta was retained by ownership even after Dorsey’s hiring.
The Browns traded the No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft to the Philadelphia Eagles, who spent it on quarterback Carson Wentz, and later, Cleveland selected wide receiver Corey Coleman with a mid-first-round pick. Coleman is no longer with the organization.
Before joining the Browns’ front office, DePodesta spent nearly 20 years in baseball.
As the New York Mets’ Vice President of Player Development and Scouting for parts of five seasons (2011-2015), DePodesta helped build a National League Championship-winning team in 2015 after the franchise went through six straight years of losing.
Prior to his stint with the Mets, DePodesta worked as the Special Assistant for Baseball Operations with the San Diego Padres (2006-2008) before being elevated to Executive Vice President in 2008.
In February of 2004, DePodesta was named General Manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, becoming the fifth-youngest GM in Major League Baseball history.
DePodesta got his start in professional sports with the Cleveland Indians as an advanced scout and was part of the front office during the team's run to the 1997 American League Championship. Later, DePodesta joined the Oakland Athletics in 1999, where he became known for his use of sabermetrics and the advanced use of analytics when seeking free agents and draft prospects.
Oakland's use of sabermetrics was chronicled in Michael Lewis' book, Moneyball, which later became a major motion picture.
Although DePodesta was a part of six division championships since the Athletics committed to using sabermetrics, only one of his teams ever made it out of the first round of the postseason, the Mets in 2015, before they fell to the Kansas City Royals in the World Series.
In his time with the Dodgers, Padres and Mets, DePodesta had just four winning seasons over a 12-year stretch.