Browns GM John Dorsey On The Beckham Trade & More

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General Manager John Dorsey:

Opening statement:

“It has been a long three days here, and I am sure that you guys have some questions so fire away.”

On the Browns’ level of research conducted prior to trading for WR Odell Beckham Jr. and if the team was able to talk to Beckham before the trade was finalized:

“We do our research on every player that becomes a Cleveland Brown. With regards to Odell, he is a very passionate and competitive guy that is going to help this football team.”

On the timeline of the trade with the Giants coming to fruition:

“We always do our preparations on hypotheticals. We will always brainstorm and try to see if certain scenarios will unfold. This particular trade really did not transpire until early Tuesday evening, late Tuesday afternoon.”

On DL Sheldon Richardson and Olivier Vernon impacting the Browns DL:

“Defensive line, we stress the importance of the foundation. The foundation for a football team is offensive and defensive line. You can’t have enough talented football players on your team, especially on the defensive line. Having the ability to acquire these types of players will help us be a better defense moving forward.”

On acquiring one of the most exciting NFL players in Beckham and reuniting him with former LSU teammate WR Jarvis Landry:

“You can’t have enough competitive football players. We all understand the magnitude of his ability to play the game of football. He is a good football player, and you can’t have enough weapons around you. He is a really good asset to have on our football team.”

On his comment at the NFL Combine that this Browns team wasn’t ready to ‘go for it,’ recent transactions seeming to send a different message and if that attitude changed since the Combine:

“We lay out certain plans on the time. At the end of the day, we have been consistent in saying that we are going to try to create competition at as many positions as we can going into training camp. With the addition of certain players that we have acquired, I think we will be competitive and we will begin to try to be competitive in the AFC North.”

On if signing Richardson set up the Browns’ ability to complete the trade for Beckham:

“Not necessarily. I think Sheldon is a really fine football player, especially from the interior part of the line. I think in today’s football, if you can have an interior defensive lineman who can apply pressure on the quarterback, that is all you can ask for. That is the way the game is kind of going.”

On if the initial agreement with former Browns WR Breshad Perriman occurred prior to the trade agreement with the Giants:

“The trade happened after that. Like I told you, that trade did not unfold until late afternoon, early evening on Tuesday.”

On if he spoke with Giants Senior Vice President and General Manager Dave Gettleman prior to that time about the Beckham trade:

“Dave and I have known each other for 30 years. We talk about a lot of things.”

On if acquiring Beckham was discussed during the Vernon trade negotiations and it ultimately progressing to Beckham joining the Browns or if the trade conversations were independent of one another:

“Dave and I have conversations, but I think those are individual conversations. You know what I mean by that right? Individual with regards to the player that is being traded.”

On if there was an initial desire to get the entire trade completed for both Beckham and Vernon at the same time:

“I am one of those guys who is almost like a compartmentalized thinker. I do one thing at a time.”

On if the Browns helped plant the seed for interest in trading for Beckham at last year’s owners’ meetings:

“No. Again, it was a hypothetical that sometimes you can plan for, but you can plan for stuff that 99 percent of the time does not transpire. This just so happened to be that one percent that your planning actually paid off.”

On how Head Coach Freddie Kitchens can help keep players satisfied with their number of touches:

“The one thing I love about Freddie, Freddie is very direct. He is very straightforward. He is going to set expectations. He is going to hold players accountable. He is going to be the same guy day in and day out. You know what? Players respect him, and they respect that type of approach.”

On if he spoke with Landry and QB Baker Mayfield prior to completing the trade for Beckham:

“I did not.”

On how Richardson and Vernon will impact DL Myles Garrett:

“What you are attempting to do here is increase your pass rush. I think that helps us get a little bit better on the defensive line. You combine that with (DL) Larry (Ogunjobi) and (DL) Emmanuel (Ogbah), and then you know what? You have a pretty good defensive line and you can start to develop a pretty good pass rush.”

On if it is beneficial that Beckham and Landry were previously teammates:

“I know that they are best of friends. They are very competitive with each other. I heard (former LSU and Kansas Head Coach) Les Miles talk about how those two would drive each other and push each other when they were at LSU to compete. I think it can only help each other because that competition brings out the best in any athlete, regardless of the sport.”

On Mayfield’s ability to bring together an offense with multiple strong personalities, including his own:

“With Baker, he showed last year that he can step up to certain challenges. The object of this thing is to surround him with as many good football players as you possibly can. It seems like Odell and Baker have a relationship formed. I am not sure where it formed, but they tell me that they have a relationship and that it is a good relationship. I am excited to see what the whole bunch can do.”

On how Kitchens and the Browns will manage heightened external expectations:

“Expectations, I hear a lot about that, but I know this – good football teams, they win in the fall. What we have done is we have added some talent. Now, the chemistry part has to take over with it. Teams win in the fall. They do not win in March, and that is good teams. With regards to Freddie, Freddie is one of those individuals who I love because he is so straightforward and honest. He is direct. He is going to set expectations high. There is that accountability level. He will make players be accountable. He is the same guy every day. That is who he is.”

On if there is a desire to trade back into the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft:

“We will try to plan for every scenario that we can. If we deem that there is a player to move up for – that is a hypothetical – if you think the player can help you, you go up and do it. Those are the mechanisms that work out. You have to plan for them, but then you have to execute them on the day of the draft.”

On if the moves by other teams in the AFC North influenced any of his decisions:

“No. What we attempted to do here is add some good football players to the team, and then let’s go compete and let’s see how the group can come together as one and go and achieve the goals that they set for themselves and that the head coach sets for them. That was not the plan.”

On filling the S position following the departure of DB Jabrill Peppers:

“We are going to have some players and we have some players on our roster that can help us. The work is never done so you will try to explore every opportunity and every avenue you can, but then all of a sudden, you have competition in OTAs and training camp. That is where all of that stuff begins to unfold.”

On if the Browns will consider former Chiefs DB Eric Berry:

“I have known Eric Berry for a long time. I think he is a fine, fine person. Of course, we are going to do our research, and if we feel that he fits this organization, of course we will make some calls to his representatives.”

On if he has received word on RB Kareem Hunt’s league discipline:

“No, I have not heard back from the league. We will react accordingly once we hear back from the league. I do know this with regards to Kareem, he has been in the building and I know that he has really done a nice job of being committed and of doing that work so that he can be the best version of himself. I know he has been diligently working on that.”

On if he expected the league to rule on Hunt’s suspension by now:

“I can only act when it happens. I can’t speak for the league on when they are going to do their ruling. All I can do is wait for them and just see what happens.”

On RB Duke Johnson Jr.’s status with the team:

“He is a really good player. He is a very valuable asset on this team.”

On reports that the Browns are shopping Johnson and DL Emmanuel Ogbah for trades:

“There are people in the National Football League, the teams, and they call every day about certain players – right now, those two guys are Cleveland Browns; they both are really good football players – but teams call around to a lot of different scenarios all of the time.”

On if there is a significant advantage to trading to acquire talent compared to free agency:

“Not necessarily. It is just another avenue of acquiring players, and we will explore every opportunity if we think it helps the Cleveland Browns. Present and in the future, we will try to see if we can execute something – either trades, unrestricted free agency, waivers, college draft, all of the different mechanisms of acquiring players.”

On if he remains comfortable with QB Drew Stanton as backup QB as stated at the NFL Combine:

“I still stand by that.”

On his confidence in OL Austin Corbett, given the team traded OL Kevin Zeitler:

“The organizations selected Austin Corbett at 33rd overall for a reason because we feel he is a good football player. By no means do you anoint him right now, but you go into training camp and compete. At the end of the day, I’m sure Freddie is going to put the five best offensive linemen out there on the field. Austin has done a really nice job.”

On how wide receivers coach Adam Henry’s presence and experience with Beckham and Landry impacted the trade and the team’s research on Beckham:

“It helps to have his college position coach on your staff, so that helped.”

On if he has been able to experience the excitement in Cleveland about the Browns:

“The excitement I was trying to generate was to go home and make sure Jack and Katherine could see their father before they went to bed. That is what I was doing was racing home to see them.”

On if he finalized the trade while ordering pizza, given a restaurant’s post on social media:

“(Laughter) I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

On working with defensive coordinator Steve Wilks to add players:

“I have thoroughly enjoyed developing a relationship with Steve Wilks. We as an organization are lucky to have a man of his caliber on our coaching staff. Every time we sit and talk, I learn more every time I sit and talk with him. I think he is a fine man.”

On if the Browns still need to add a starting LB after releasing former Browns LB Jamie Collins:

“I think Genard Avery played at a really nice level last year. What you are going to do is explore every opportunity. If a good player comes about, you will again try to add competition because you can’t have enough competition at all spots, even at the linebacker spot. That is what I love about training camp.”

On if he thought Beckham needed a change of scenery, given reports in New York that he was challenging to deal with at the Giants:

“I know Odell is very passionate, know he is competitive and I know he can help this football team. If you can get the chance to acquire a guy like that, you know what? Take a shot at him.”

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