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Browns to Hire VP of Player Personnel, Not GM; Hickey, Mayhew, Mueller are Candidates

The Browns have changed the search for a personnel man, according to Sashi Brown (right).

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

As expected, the Cleveland Browns have run into difficulty in the hunt for Ray Farmer's replacement.

As such, the club has altered the search.

The Browns will no longer look to hire a general manager, but a vice president of player personnel. The new executive will not have final say over the final 53-man roster, granting the person less power and allowing teams to prevent personnel figures from interviewing with the Browns.

As new Executive Vice President Sashi Brown acknowledged, the search is becoming difficult. However, the team has a few candidates in mind and wants to hire someone in the next two weeks.

The club has already interviewed two experienced personnel men -- former Dolphins GM Dennis Hickey and former Lions GM Martin Mayhew. Another candidate, former Eagles Director of Pro Personnel Rick Mueller is also on the "team's radar," according to's Mary Kay Cabot.

The new VP of player personnel will serve as a talent evaluator rather than a contract negotiator or major decision maker. Even still, Brown expressed confidence in the team's ability to find an experienced, worthy candidate:

"We will find a very talented evaluator, we're confident in that," Brown stated during his introductory press conference on Thursday. "The hubbub of back and forth about guys getting blocked is fairly natural. It's just kind of one of the oddities of an NFL schedule. At the same time people are building their draft boards and going into free agency and relying on their personnel guys, teams are trying to pluck em out of there, so it wasn't a surprise to us. Frankly we expected it.

"A lot of these guys are really talented and vital to their organizations, so we weren't surprised to know that some of the GMs around the league weren't excited about having their guys walk out the door right now, particularly because some of these teams have set their draft boards already, so there's a lot of proprietary information.''

Will Brown and the Browns manage to reel in a promising candidate? The clock is ticking.