George Paton has moved to the front of the Browns’ GM search, with the Minnesota-to-Cleveland pairing of Paton-Kevin Stefanski looking like the next Browns power structure.
But the longtime Vikings executive will meet with Browns brass one more time, doing so later this week, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer notes. With the Vikings since 2007, Paton has been selective about his GM future over the past several years. He’s turned down multiple teams’ offers since 2017, so it would certainly be interesting to see Rick Spielman‘s top lieutenant jump ship to one of the NFL’s least stable franchises.
Initially, Paton paused on taking a Browns interview because of the prospect of an Andrew Berry reunion, Cabot adds. But the prospect of working with Stefanski enticed him to take the meeting.
Berry was a Browns exec from 2016-18, coming aboard when Jimmy Haslam brought in Sashi Brown and current chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta to run a new-age front office. But Paton’s first Browns meeting obviously went quite well, and he appears to be leading a field that includes Berry and Patriots exec Monti Ossenfort.
Paton’s Vikings tenure overlapped with Stefanski’s. The new Browns HC also became acquainted with Berry during the John Dorsey-led coaching search that led to Freddie Kitchens taking over. Berry then joined the Eagles’ front office. But a Minneapolis East setup may be the latest in a long line of power structures under Haslam.
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