The last of a series assessing the Cleveland Browns' roster as we head to training camp, with a position-by-position rundown comparing it to when the season ended and now.
Then: Joe Banner, Mike Lombardi, Ray Farmer.
Now: Ray Farmer, Morocco Brown, Bill Kuharich.
When owner Jimmy Haslam announced the promotion of Farmer and departure of Banner and Lombardi, he said it was done with Banner's blessing and to streamline the organization so it functioned more logically and smoothly. Business operations, led by president Alec Scheiner, would report to Haslam, and football would fall under the guidance of Farmer and also report to Haslam. Lo and behold, the Browns seem to have a much more streamlined and logical front office structure. Farmer brings a refreshing honesty and logic to his approach. He does not give the feeling that he is smarter than anyone, and his moves -- while much more traditional -- have made sense. He pulled off some masterful trades on draft night and wound up generating more excitement than anyone has seen in a long time with the selection of Johnny Manziel -- though it seems he may have his hands full in handling Manziel off the field. He brought in experienced and logical free agents and he was open in explaining moves like the release of D'Qwell Jackson. Nobody knows how things will play out, and Farmer would admit that. He's smart enough to know what he doesn't know, confident and secure enough to be honest in assessing things and open enough to not dodge a question. It's an easy out to dump on the previous regime and also not fair to Farmer, who stands on his merits for what he does. And what he does seems to be moving the Browns in a positive direction.
The positives: Haslam had the gumption to recognize what he had in Farmer and the guts to make a move that might have been perceived negatively. Farmer's presence has been stabilizing and positive.
The negatives: There's still a long way to go, and how things play out will depend on the position that has baffled the Browns since 1999. If Farmer hasn't or can't find a franchise quarterback, he might one day find himself with all the other GMs before him who tried.
Previously: Quarterback, running back/fullback, wide receiver, tight end, offensive line, defensive line, linebacker, secondary, coaching staff.