It’s been a comedy of errors this offseason in Cleveland. The way the team unceremoniously dropped head coach Rob Chudzinski the day after the regular season was panned across the league. Weeks later, the front office that hired and fired Chudzinski was also shown the door by team owner Jimmy Haslam, who himself is currently embroiled in legal battles involving his off-the-field businesses.
The team had to work its way down the long list of rejection before it convinced Mike Pettine to take what has to be the most unstable job in the NFL. Then, during May’s draft, the team was slapped with the news that star wide receiver Josh Gordon could be hit with a long suspension after another violation of the league’s substance abuse policy.
And, oh yeah, the team drafted some guy named Manziel. He’s made just a few headlines this offseason, too.
The Gordon news got worse last weekend when he was arrested for DWI in North Carolina. But the recent arrest of Gordon gives the Browns a chance to wipe the slate clean as they head into training camp later this month. A chance to start anew with their new quarterback, new head coach, and new front office.
The Browns need to cut Josh Gordon for the sake of the franchise.
Jimmy Haslam bought the Browns with the pledge that he would bring a Super Bowl to Cleveland. Since then, the franchise has invested two first-round picks in quarterbacks, only to see them out the door less than three years later.
Now enters Manziel as the most polarizing player since Tim Tebow, but with actual talent. The problem? In some people’s eyes, Manziel enjoys his off-the-field life a little too much to be a star quarterback in the NFL. Whether that sentiment is warranted or not will be dictated by how Manziel plays on the field.
But Cleveland has a golden opportunity to show Manziel what happens to a professional player when he fails to act like a professional off the field. Sure, Gordon is easily the best offensive weapon the Browns have had since Braylon Edwards. Despite a two game suspension, he led the league in receiving yards in 2013. From a production standpoint, Gordon’s loss would be substantial for any team — especially the Browns.
Nonetheless, if Cleveland wants to play with the grown-ups, it’s going to have to start acting like one. For as much as losing Gordon will hurt on the field, cutting ties with him will provide immense growth for the team off-the-field.
The next few weeks will provide a lot of insight as to whether Haslam and new GM Ray Farmer are serious about moving this team in the right direction. If nothing is done, then we’ll know that these are just the same ‘ol Browns.