The Cleveland Browns are hiring Philadelphia Eagles vice president of football operations Andrew Berry to be their general manager and executive vice president of football operations.
Here's what you need to know about the Browns' new GM:
Owner Jimmy Haslam wanted to hire a general manager who was on the same page with chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta and had the blessing of new head coach Kevin Stefanski. Vikings assistant general manager George Paton, who worked with Stefanski in Minnesota, fit that bill. But when Paton pulled out of the running late last week, Berry was the only other serious candidate who seemed to make sense. Berry, 32, is the youngest general manager in the league, but is regarded as a rising front-office star.
What history does Berry have with the Browns?
Before departing for the Eagles, Berry was in Cleveland for three seasons as the Browns' vice president of personnel from 2016 to 2018, coming over from the Indianapolis Colts after six years as a scout there. Berry initially worked under the analytically inclined Sashi Brown in Cleveland and was part of the regime that tore down the Browns to acquire draft picks, going 1-31 over two seasons in the process.
How did he do?
With Berry working in the front office under Brown, Cleveland drafted defensive end Myles Garrett with the No. 1 overall pick in 2017, passing on quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson, even though the Browns were in search of a franchise QB at the time.
With the 15th overall pick in 2016, the Browns drafted wide receiver Corey Coleman, who played only two seasons in Cleveland. Even after Brown was replaced with John Dorsey, Berry remained a part of a front office that in the 2018 draft selected starting quarterback Baker Mayfield and cornerback Denzel Ward in the top five in the first round, followed by Pro Bowl running back Nick Chubb in the second. The Browns also traded for Pro Bowl wide receiver Jarvis Landry.
Berry left for Philadelphia before the 2019 draft and before Cleveland traded for All-Pro wideout Odell Beckham Jr.
What connection does he have to the current regime?
Berry was still with the Browns when they interviewed Stefanski last year before Dorsey hired Freddie Kitchens instead. Berry also worked with DePodesta, with whom he has a similar background. Berry and DePodesta played football at Harvard. Berry started all four years at cornerback for the Crimson and was All-Ivy League three times. Berry, DePodesta and Stefanski (Penn) are all Ivy League graduates.
What does this mean for the Browns?
Two days after firing Dorsey on Dec. 31, Haslam lamented how the Browns had suffered with "arranged marriages" through the years since he bought the team in 2012, with GMs, front-office executives and coaches who all didn't see eye to eye. Most recently, that included DePodesta, who has run Cleveland's analytics wing, and Dorsey, who came up as a scout. Haslam vowed to seek "alignment" this time around, with the Browns intending to hire a general manager and a coach who would collaborate well alongside DePodesta and ownership.
The Browns have that alignment in Stefanski, DePodesta and now Berry, who all embrace analytics and seem to be on the same page with the direction the Browns should take in the next five years -- the lengths of the contracts both Stefanski and Berry will have signed. All three will report to Haslam as equals, too, giving Haslam the setup he has so desired.
There should be no excuses going forward for a franchise that has talent but hasn't been to the playoffs since 2002.