The Cleveland Browns finally made official on Monday what was reported on Saturday and widely reckoned to be coming for months, firing head coach Pat Shurmur and general manager Tom Heckert.
Heckert spent almost three years as the general manger after coming over from Philadelphia. His most notable moves including trading up to take Trent Richardson in the first round this year after losing the auction with the Redskins for the rights to the pick used to select Robert Griffin III, drafting 28-year-old Brandon Weeden in the first round, and failing to build a team better than the 5-11 squad he inherited. When new owner Jimmy Haslam hired Joe Banner, whose relationship with Heckert in Philadelphia was reportedly not always smooth, the writing was on the wall.
Shurmur finishes with a 9-23 record in his two season as head coach of the Browns, going 4-12 in 2011 before finishing 5-11 this year. The offense was ineffective and seemed ill-suited for Brandon Weeden's talents. He put a seemingly concussed Colt McCoy back into the game. The Browns didn't quit, but Shurmur's talents right now appear best suited to another stint as offensive coordinator, probably on a team whose personnel fits his preferred west coast-type scheme.
The Browns have already announced they plan to hire a coach, then a general manager, and to give the coach full control over the roster. That's likely an indicator they believe they're a serious contender to land a high-profile name. Nick Saban has been rumored there, though that seems unlikely considering his ignominious stint with the Dolphins. A more likely name might be Jon Gruden, who is reportedly interested in coming back to the NFL.