After nearly two weeks worth of speculation, it appears as though Mike Holmgren has gotten his man.
According to multiple sources spoken to by theOBR over the past 24 hours, Philadelphia Eagles GM Tom Heckert has agreed in principle to a position in the Cleveland Browns organization. It should be noted, however, that there are still some details to work out, the most notable being exactly what his title will be with the club.
It's expected by those with knowledge of the situation that Heckert will at least carry the title of general manager with the Browns, with an additional title possible. In much the same way that Jeff Ireland has "control" over personnel in Miami, one source put it, Heckert would exert the same level of control here in Cleveland, with Holmgren playing the role of Bill Parcells in the new organizational model.
"Ireland makes the decisions in Miami. Parcells is involved in all the decisions in Miami. It won't be much different in Cleveland with Holmgren and Heckert," another source said.
Even given that structure, the turning point in the recruitment of the high-respected executive was the involvement of Holmgren. Last year around this time, Heckert had the opportunity to interview for the GM job made available by the firing of Phil Savage. However, the more Heckert talked with owner Randy Lerner and others around the league, the more it became crystal clear that not only would Eric Mangini become "his" head coach if he accepted an offer, but that Mangini would wield considerable power and clout within the organizational structure.
That dynamic has changed, however, by Holmgren's presence atop the club's flow chart.
This time around, with Holmgren as team president and Mangini being retained as head coach, Heckert has agreed – again, in principle -- to take on a similar role to what was being offered up a year ago, but with a twist this time around: Heckert will answer only to Holmgren and would be in a position of power over the head coach; he would not be an "equal" as was to be the case a year ago.
Additionally, Heckert being afforded the opportunity to be a GM in not just name-only -- head coach Andy Reid called most of the shots in Philly – was another selling point. In his current situation, Heckert's role within the club's hierarchy was viewed as reaching its ceiling given Reid's far-reaching personnel powers within the organization.
Throughout the whole process involving Heckert, the Eagles have offered little resistance to the possibility of Heckert leaving – even before their season was over – due to the presence of Howie Roseman. While Heckert enjoyed a successful run in Philadelphia, the Eagles are not disappointed in his likely decision to join the Browns as Roseman has an outstanding working relationship within the organization and is believed to be an up-and-coming star.
An announcement on the hiring of Heckert could take place as soon as early this coming week, a source said. Provided, of course, that the few lingering items left to be ironed out don't cause the process to hit a snag en route to the press conference.