Browns Owner Speaks Candidly About Extending Kevin Stefanski & Andrew Berry’s Contracts

Getty Browns owner Jimmy Haslam was asked about contract extensions for GM Andrew Berry and head coach Kevin Stefanski.

It’s no secret that Cleveland Browns fans, players and personnel have been frustrated lately with how the team has performed. When asked about this at the annual NFL annual meeting, owner Jimmy Haslam told’s Mary Kay Cabot that he’s not sure yet about extending the contracts of head coach Kevin Stefanski and general manager Andrew Berry.

Jimmy Haslam Defended Kevin Stefanski & Andrew Berry But Did Not Guarantee That Their Contracts Would Be Extended

Berry and Stefanski are both headed into the fourth year of their five-year contracts and while Haslam thinks they are doing a solid job and that they continue to grow in their roles, he said talking about extending their contracts is “premature.”

“You have to realize this, Kevin just turned 40. Andrew is 35. OK. They’re now entering into their fourth year into the job and we spend a lot of time with these guys. We’ve seen them grow. Kevin had never even been a coordinator for one year when we hired him. So he hadn’t had a lot of experience in what I’ll call management. I think he’s learned and grown tremendously over the last two or three years,” said Haslam, adding, “He did a really nice job of upgrading his staff. Both defensive coordinator and the special teams coordinator, I just think we put ourselves in a much better position.

“Andrew’s done a nice job of fitting in the pieces what we needed to shore up our defensive line. We got a good safety, we got a couple of good receivers and you all have watched Andrew. He’s not through working. We feel good about Kevin, feel good about him coming into the season, feel good about Andrew. You need to have some breaks and not have too many injuries. The ball bounces your way and you win games. But everybody understands how important that is.”

However, when asked about whether contract extensions have been discussed, Haslam said no.

“That’s premature to say. We’ll talk about that at the appropriate time,” said the owner.

He also spoke at length about the expectations for the 2023 season, which he bluntly said is making the playoffs, though he stopped short of calling it an ultimatum. Under Berry and Stefanski, the Browns were 11-5 in 2020, 8-9 in 2021 and 7-10 in 2022. In 2020, they made the playoffs as the No. 2 wild card and beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 48-37 to advance to the divisional round where they lost to the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Haslams Also Said They Don’t Have Plans to Build a New Stadium

At the annual meeting, Jimmy and Dee Haslam were also asked about possible plans to build a new stadium or renovate the Browns’ FirstEnergy Stadium. Jimmy Haslam told the Akron Beacon Journal that they are “committed” to renovating the current stadium, which sits on Lake Eric in downtown Cleveland and was built in 1999.

“Cleveland would benefit tremendously from the development of the waterfront. Having the stadium down there seems to be in everybody’s best interest. So we’re committed to redoing the stadium. In all likelihood, it’s not going to have a dome, but it’ll be a substantial remodel of the existing facility and we’re probably 3, 4, 5 years away from that happening,” said the owner.

Haslam’s comments are in stark contrast to a report from Northeast Ohio blog NEOtrans that said in February 2023 that “several sources” told them the Haslam Sports Group and the Browns “want to move forward now on the new stadium.” The lease on the current one expires in 2028.

Sources that spoke on the condition of anonymity said that the Haslams wanted to build the new stadium on Lake Erie east of downtown.

“There have been high-level conversations about (stadium) locations but zero negotiating to date,” said an unnamed City Hall source.

An unnamed team source added, “There has been a series of meetings over the past eight to 12 months between the Haslams and Mayor Bibb and his team to try to come together toward a solution for the lakefront. The mayor wants that to be a community-driven process but the Haslams have their plan and are ready to go.”

However, at the annual NFL meeting, the Haslams seem to have indicated they don’t want to build a new stadium — or at least they don’t want to pay for it.

When asked how he would respond if Mayor Bibb wanted to build a new stadium with a roof, Haslam replied, “Depends on how much he wants to fund. Listen, construction costs have gotten very high lately.”

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