What had been suspected now is confirmed — Cleveland owner Randy Lerner said at his press conference Monday that he has received permission to speak with Patriots vice president – player personnel Scott Pioli about the Browns general manager role.
The big question is whether Lerner will be able to convince Pioli to come to Cleveland. He already failed to convince former Steelers coach Bill Cowher to coach the Browns.
At the very least, Pioli appears willing to listen. He previously worked in Cleveland from 1992-95 and for the right role, responsibilities, powers and salary, Lerner might be able to pry away Pioli, who is viewed as the gem of GMs. Two other teams have tried and failed to recruit Pioli. Seattle tried hiring him in January 2005, then the New York Giants did the same in January 2007. Both franchises were turned down, but Cleveland might be the right franchise at the right time.
If Lerner can make a convincing case with a corresponding offer, then chances are he can land Pioli.