John Dorsey 2019 NFL Combine

Daryl Ruiter-92.3 The Fan

John Dorsey doesn’t feel Browns are 1 big name player away

Dorsey building to win in the present while preserving flexibility for the future

March 1, 2019
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Daryl Ruiter-Indianapolis, IN (92.3 The Fan) – The Cleveland Browns took a tremendous step forward in 2018 – namely the second half of the season – but they’re not where general manager John Dorsey envisions them to be.

Not yet.

That’s why Dorsey doesn’t sound like he’s ready to push all his chips to the center of the table to facilitate one move that could potentially push the Browns over the top.

He believes it’ll take multiple moves.

“No. I don’t think we’re a team yet to go for it,” Dorsey said Thursday. “We have a young, talented team. Let’s build a foundation here. Let’s build a team of substance, okay? But we’re not done yet in terms of getting this thing right.”

Dorsey laid the foundation by gutting the roster and adding 42 new players to the current roster – eight draft picks, seven unrestricted free agents, three undrafted free agents, 16 street free agents, three players through trades – he’s made 14 deals since taking over as GM – and five waiver claims.

After winning five of their last seven games to finish 7-8-1, the Browns are the hot trendy team with a bandwagon that is quickly filling up with 2019 playoff prognostications.

While encouraged by what he saw after Hue Jackson and Todd Haley were shown the door, Dorsey is tempering his own excitement as to not get too caught up in the hype and realizing the significant amount of work he has in front of him for the Browns to live up to their new-found hope.

“Everybody feels good, but really what have we done? We’ve won seven games,” Dorsey said. “That’s still not a winning record in my eyes. We want to be competitive in the AFC North year in and year out and we’re going to do that. So now what we have to do is we’re almost done — our plan —  so let’s see if we can stay true and stay consistent with that plan as we go into the start of the league year.”

Loaded with 10 more draft picks and over $72 million in estimated salary cap space following the Greg Robinson signing this week, Dorsey is positioned to make significant additions when the new league year begins in less than two weeks, but he plans to proceed with caution.  

While Dorsey is building to win in the present, he’s also keeping an eye down the road.

“Every year we want to win. That’s an overarching goal,” Dorsey said. “I’m not going to go out and go waste a whole bunch of money because I have to think three and four years down the road. I just can’t think for the immediate future as well. I’ve got to think three or four years.”

Fans continue to obsess over unused cap space that has been rolled over – Cleveland rolled over just under $60 million from 2018 to 2019 according to figures published by the NFLPA – but Dorsey already sees it vanishing with potential contract extensions for Damarious Randall, Myles Garrett and eventually Baker Mayfield – for starters – looming on the horizon.

Dorsey currently has the benefit of having his franchise quarterback in Mayfield under a rookie deal, meaning the massive salary and cap figure that the top quarterbacks in the league command, don’t apply yet, but eventually will.

The challenge for Dorsey now is to take advantage of Mayfield’s low cap hits in the short term while preserving enough room down the road for Mayfield's eventual mega-deal.  

“It gives you a lot of options on how you want to construct your team,” Dorsey said. “Once you identify positional needs, then I think then what you do is, you be very selective on how you go about acquiring those players, you have to look at the resources available on how to acquire those players, and then if you can, go acquire those assets that can best help this team get over the hump.”

From Dorsey’s perspective, getting over the hump will require multiple assets, and multiple moves.

He plans to make them one at a time while using his chips economically.