Cleveland Browns Owner Jimmy Haslam Says They Have ‘Expectations to Go to The Playoffs’
In an interview at the annual NFL meeting on Monday, March 27, Browns owner Haslam spoke at length with Cabot about the upcoming season and how high the expectations are with quarterback Deshaun Watson getting his first full season, head coach Kevin Stefanski being in his fourth year, and the offseason moves made by general manager Andrew Berry.
“I don’t want to say that [it’s the playoffs or else], but I think that we have expectations to go to the playoffs,” Haslam said. “But I’m not going to say if we don’t make the playoffs, X, Y, Z happens because that’ll be the headline tomorrow. Listen, the AFC is tough. You’ve all been around. Our division is tough.”
He added, “You all know how hard it is to win in the NFL. We certainly do. So I think everybody has a sense of urgency that we need to play well this year.”
Haslam Also Said That Of Course They Were Disappointed Last Season
In 2022, quarterback Deshaun Watson served an 11-game suspension for his off-the-field legal issues where more than 25 female massage therapists accused him of sexual assault. Most of those suits have been settled, but there are still two civil suits pending. Watson has maintained his innocence amid all the accusations.
But Watson was out for the first 11 games of the year and backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett took the field in his place. Haslam told Cabot that even with that being the situation, they were still “very disappointed” in the season as a whole.
“We were all disappointed,” he said. “None of us thought we’d be 7-10 even with Jacoby (Brissett) playing 11 games, Deshaun missing 11 games, however, you want to say it. We were all disappointed — very disappointed. Like I said, the desire to win in that building, whether it’s ownership — I’m just repeating myself — or personnel, coaches is extremely high. We’ve got high standards so we expect to do better.”
Haslam acknowledged that “there are 32 teams that think their team’s going to win the Super Bowl,” but nobody wants it more than the Browns.
“I can assure you this — from ownership to personnel to coaching to the support people in the building — nobody wants to win more than the group of people I just listed. Nobody works harder or cares more about it. I think we’ve made some good progress in the offseason, both in the coaching staff and with the team. And I think we’re all optimistic going into this year,” said Haslam.
In the offseason, the Browns had several high-profile signings, from defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson to safety Juan Thornhill to wide receivers Marquise Goodwin and Elijah Moore. But Berry told Cabot at the annual NFL meeting that they’re still tweaking the lineup and they may not be done acquiring new players.
“Even as we sit here today, we’re two weeks into the start of the league year. There’s no position group or part of the roster that’s completed at this point. We’re really, really early in terms of the transaction season,” said Berry. “Even as we sit here now, there’s still a lot of work to be done and a lot of things that could happen to shape the roster. So we don’t look at it as like, ‘OK, catch your breath right now’ — it’s a long time till we are playing games in September.”