On, or about October 16th, James Arthur “Jimmy” Haslam will be given the blessing of the cartel known as the NFL owners to buy the Cleveland Browns. Documents will be exchanged. Secret handshakes revealed.
Haslam is a dynamic, proactive businessman who recently stepped down from his CEO duties at his family owned Pilot Flying J empire. Haslam bought a Browns franchise valued by Forbes Magazine at $977M for $1B, and seems determined to add value to the Cleveland Browns franchise. He’s already approached the Cleveland movers and shakers about adding a dome to Cleveland Browns Stadium, and is studying other Cleveland lakefront developments.
Haslam is a lifelong Pittsburgh Steelers fan who has close ties with the University of Tennessee. His brother Bill is the Tennessee Governor.
Oddly enough, Browns fans have overlooked his Steelers passion and have endorsed his ownership along with the inevitable change that Browns fans have been craving.
This analyst believes that Haslam will bring in his own management team and hire a new head coach by Halloween. It wouldn’t surprise me if Haslam isn’t quietly working under the radar to assemble a front office staff and putting out some third party “feelers” to head coaching candidates.
One member of the Browns front office—GM Tom Heckert, should be retained. Heckert is widely acknowledged as an outstanding talent evaluator who has persevered despite clashing with Browns current president, Mike Holmgren.
It remains to speculation as to whether the Haslam - Heckert connection will click, but Heckert’s reputation alone assures him of a GM position elsewhere should owner presumptive Haslam choose to clean house entirely.
My belief is that Haslam, the ultimate negotiator and Heckert, the ultimate facilitator will find common ground upon which a foundation for success is more than a possibility. Heckert should be given full control over football operations under a new president who handles the business end of the franchise.
Obviously, Haslam will put his stamp of approval upon everything that transpires in the Browns front office. Will Haslam and Heckert see eye to eye on the new head coach? The answer to that question will go a long way in determining the “style” of ownership that Haslam brings to Cleveland.
Will Haslam’s style resemble that of Dallas’ mercurial, micromanaging Jerry Jones? Or, will Haslam’s style resemble the “Let football minds run the team” approach of Detroit’s William Clay Ford?
We should know by Halloween whether Jimmy Haslam will be a trick, or a treat for Browns fans.