Ray Farmer has had 2 offseasons to develop the team via free agency and the NFL Draft. What do you think he has done well? What is your concern about Farmer the GM?
Jared - I still believe in the model that Farmer is building around. Build the interior of the team and the defense first. I also think he and I agree that getting “playmakers” doesn’t really matter if you don’t have a QB to throw to them. However, I do have some concern that he overreacted to character issues from last year and went safe this year. Neither extreme is a good one. He can see talent certainly but finding complete stars is another question.
Barry - As much as I wanted to get behind Ray Farmer’s tenure as GM, some of his decisions lead to questions that may not have great answers. The most crucial question to me is whether Farmer was guided by ownership during the 2014 draft, or if he was impacted by a lack of preparation due to the lateness and chaos of the off-season. Clearly his top picks that draft have been underperforming (or in the case of Justin Gilbert not performing at all) while other available players have quickly progressed to stardom. Dwayne Bowe has essentially been a $9 million hood ornament for Farmer’s roster, and the team was swinging and missing all off-season in the chase for free agents. Some of the latter, of course, has to do with organizational dysfunction rather than Farmer’s performance specifically. To me, Johnny Manziel holds the key to Farmer’s future. If he performs this season, the 2014 draft doesn’t look like the disaster it appeared to be, and might be enough to save his job. Right now, though, his immediate future looks grim.
Lane - Farmer’s vision of wanting ‘football’ players is solid. Farmer’s methods in securing those types leaves the Browns in a precarious position. Continued subpar to failures in the selection of high draft picks leaves the cupboard rather bare -- and the GM of the Browns does not display the interest in obtaining play-maker types to enable the strength of the team. To date, the overall job done by Farmer has been mediocre and incomplete.
Andrea - I do see what Farmer is getting at, but he’s also doing the wrong things, like not stockpiling draft picks in the future and spending unnecessary money. Granted, the cash isn’t a big deal given the cap space the Browns have—and don’t have anyone to spend it on. The character issues are a big deal to me, though. No, “they can’t all be choir boys,” but do they have to be me-firsters with substance abuse problems, too?
Rick - What has he done well? That’s a pretty interesting question. I can’t say that his free agency decisions are really working out well, but free agents rarely seem to live up to expectations. Tramon Williams is the exception there. The Bowe contract is looking really bad right now. Of course I’m supposed to be looking for positives. I like that he spends late round draft picks on players that need to recover from injuries but have much more potential. Both Desir and Ifo are in that category.
Fred - You just cannot continually pass on playmakers. Fundamentally, you build through the lines but when you have five offensive lineman drafted as highly as they were, an undrafted free agent should be able to run behind them (forgot they have one). Players like Adrian Peterson and Le’Veon Bell seem to be able to run the ball no matter who is in front of them. The same goes for receivers and cannot believe the disdain for playmakers that Farmer has bypassed the last two years. The signing of Dwayne Bowe and drafting of Vince Mayle are catastrophic to date. You have to hit on your draft picks, particularly your first rounders and the two first round picks of the last two seasons there is only one of the four starting.
Hayden - It doesn’t seem as though Ray Farmer can evaluate talent… period. The Browns are one of the least talented teams in football and haven’t drafted a single player with an extremely high talent level in Farmer’s tenure. Passing on receivers left and right has left him with Brian Hartline and Andrew Hawkins as his premier pass catchers, while Dwayne Bowe sits in the locker room, counting his $9 million. Ray Farmer has been far more of an issue than Mike Pettine, but both will more than likely be shown the door at the same time when this season comes to an end.
State of the Browns Series