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Other teams already are picking brains of fired Browns scouts


The Browns arguably fired safety Donte Whitner too late. And they’ve arguably fired six scouts too early.

Per a league source, other teams already have begun to try to pick the brains of the six former scouts in an effort to learn more about Cleveland’s plans for the draft. According to multiple league sources, the six former scouts are Bobby DePaul, Mike Hagen, Matt Holland, Scott Aligo, Harrison Ritcher, and James Kirkland.

DePaul, the Bears former director of pro personnel, Hagen, Kirkland, and Aligo arrived two years ago, along with Charles Bailey and Ron Hill. Bailey and Hill remain with the Browns.

It’s not known whether the six former scouts are telling other teams anything about Cleveland’s plans, whether they are permitted to do so given the terms of their contracts, or whether they even know anything about the team’s plans. It’s possible that the current regime thinks so dimly of their work that the front office has no concerns about anything they may say to another team.

Regardless, it’s also possible they had (and still have) access to certain research and other information; two years ago, former Browns G.M. Mike Lombardi was spotted at the Scouting Combine with documents containing prominent Browns logos while working with the Patriots.

The easier course for the Browns would have been to keep the scouts on the payroll but give them little or nothing to do for the next three weeks, perhaps even telling them to stay home with pay.

Which, in fairness to the Browns, may be as a practical matter what they’ve done. From Cleveland’s perspective, the organization had a large staff of scouts, the team wanted to streamline the operations going forward, and the Browns wanted to be candid and honest with the departing scouts and give scouts whose contracts were expiring after the draft a chance to pursue new jobs. (Whitner may wonder why that mindset didn’t apply to him a month ago.)

Still, it’s the kind of unconventional approach that will make it even more clear that, until the Browns start winning, the jokes won’t stop happening. The overriding goal of the organization remains to start winning.

UPDATE 2:17 p.m. ET: In response to the observation that Whitner may wonder why that mindset didn’t apply to him a month ago, Whitner said on Twitter, “Yes I am wondering.”