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Dysfunction reigns in Berea, according to Jason La Canfora

CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora wrote a scathing piece on owner Jimmy Haslam and the Browns today.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Browns' offseason from hell continues.

CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora released an eye-opening article today on the state of the Browns' organization. You can read the entire article here, but the highlights from the piece are below.

It's easy to discount La Canfora because of his apparent anti-Browns bias, which allegedly stems from his supposed friendship with Michael Lombardi, who received a pink slip from owner Jimmy Haslam. However, while certain pieces of La Canfora's piece can be discounted as over-exaggeration, many truths are present in this article. La Canfora's sources are most likely solid. Plus, is it really so hard to believe that the Browns are a mess?

La Canfora begins his piece by apologizing to Browns fans. When Haslam bought the Browns, La Canfora said the club was in good hands. As he readily admits now, he was wrong.

Things are actually worse than ever in Cleveland, where even a surprising seven-win season has been marred by the unraveling of the staff, the roster, and any faint hopes that for once, finally, this franchise might be on the upswing. Haslam has brought nothing but misery and instability to the franchise.

La Canfora goes on to blame Haslam for most of the organization's current woes, including:

  • The departure of Kyle Shanahan
  • The team's Josh Gordon headache
  • Drafting Johnny Manziel and the fallout from the decision
  • "Tension" between general manager Ray Farmer and head coach Mike Pettine
Most of the above is not news to Browns fans, but the part about developing tension between Farmer and Pettine is concerning, as is this paragraph:
The culture in the Browns building is toxic, I'm told. Morale is beyond low. If you can flee, you are fleeing. There is no shortage of individuals throughout that organization who would, like former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, get the hell out of there if at all possible.
Even more frightening for the Browns fans is the idea that Haslam wants to start over.

La Canfora points out multiple times in the article that the team's owner may be plotting to blow everything up after the 2015 season.
There's an overwhelming sense of dread about the future and a fear that, come the end of the 2015 season, Haslam will do the one thing he has managed to do with any consistency during his three-season reign -- that is, blow up his entire building once again and fire everyone, in essence blaming all but himself for his sweeping failure.

After La Canfora ends his history lesson on Haslam and the Browns, he adds a few interesting bits of insight at the end.

First off, sources told La Canfora that Jordan Cameron does not want to return to Cleveland. The tight end experienced a tough 2014 campaign, as the four-year veteran battling injury all season. Cameron finished the season with 427 yards and two touchdowns, a significant decline from his breakout year in 2013.

Second, the situation at quarterback might be worse than Browns fans expected. La Canfora does not believe that Brian Hoyer will return to Cleveland, and Mark Sanchez seems out of the question. According to La Canfora's sources, Pettine has no interest in bringing Sanchez to Cleveland. Pettine was a member of Rex Ryan's staff in New York during the Sanchez era, and apparently does not want former Jet and Eagle on his team.

After these tidbits, La Canfora's concluding paragraph offers a very sobering reality that Browns fans have been pondering for some time now.
You have to wonder, under Haslam, as long as he is this involved, if anything ever will. You have to wonder if this week -- with Manziel in rehab and Gordon banished from the league for 2015 -- is rock bottom for the Browns. You have to wonder if things will ever change.
If this isn't rock bottom for the Browns, then Cleveland fans might want to brace for impact.