Could George Kokinis’ Firing Be Used Against Eric Mangini?

Lerner Mangini KokinisThe behind the scenes battle between the Cleveland Browns and George Kokinis continues to find its way back into the fold as the 2009 season winds down.  This time, as Kokinis and his counsel attempt to build a case against Randy Lerner and the Browns, it appears that any wrongdoing on the part of the Browns could in fact come back to work against Eric Mangini and his future with the team.

When George Kokinis was relieved of his duties (remember, at no point was he officially “fired”), the team claimed that he was not fulfilling his duties as a general manager.  Upon this news, many fans wondered why hewas the one fired when it appeared that head coach Eric Mangini was the one not allowing him to fulfill said roles.  Rumors continue to swirl that Kokinis was not involved in many key decisions – including, but not limited to, the trade of Braylon Edwards to the New York Jets. 

Kokinis’ camp claims that the promises made to him upon his arrival were not honored by Mangini as well as Lerner.  The Plain Dealerobtained quotes from Lerner’s representative Jeffrey Kessler stating that the empty promises were made simply to pry Kokinis from the Baltimore Ravens only to fill the chair of the general manager – not ones that would actually allow Kokinis to act in such a manner.

Per Kokinis’ team, all of these promises (final say on the 53-man roster et al) were ignored by Mangini who continually went over the general manager’s head in terms of decisions and contact with team owner Randy Lerner.  If this is holds true, and the Browns lose out to Kokinis – or are forced to settle, as some outlets have hinted – the team could in fact have grounds on Mangini in terms of any termination with cause. 

Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio claims that the Browns would have “enough ammunition” to be off of the hook for Mangini’s contract which would save the team considerably more money than they would be forced to pay Kokinis for any wrongdoing on their part.

And just who would come in and fill the vacant seats in 2010?  Green Bay is starting to think that their front office may be changing area codes in the not so distant future.

When Mike Holmgren transferred from Green Bay to Seattle, he took his “cabinet” with him.  This time around, Green Bay Press Gazette’s Pete Dougherty feels that two of their current members– John Schneider and Reggie McKenzie – could be doing the same.  Dougherty also mentions a few members of the his past Seahawks front office – Lake Dawson and Will Lewis – as potential future employees of the Browns. 

Schneider’s greatest asset is reportedly his scouting abilities at the college level, McKenzie has been touted for his skill set in the free agent arena.  Both spaces are ones that could use an added boost for Holmgren’s new employer.

  • Roosevelt

    As someone pointed out on the Florio piece; if they hire and fire two guys in the same season, and then try to get out of paying both of their contracts, who’s gonna come to Cleveland? Even Holmgren will have to worry that his 10 at fifty may turn out to be considerably less.

  • Scott

    I would argue that more people would want to come here if Mangini was gone than those that would want to come here now.

  • subadai

    This was just conjecture on Florio’s part. But, as he will tell you, he used to be a lawyer. I think that he is thinking along w/ Lerner’s legal team here.

    Right now, anything that Lerner can do to mitigate the financial impact from the ridiculous position he put himself in by hiring a coach before a GM is gonna be good for the club.

    Weird sentence structure there, sorry.

  • Cleveland Frowns

    I put the chances of this happening, the Browns attempting to and then succeeding in firing Mangini “with cause,” at about .0001%.

    Keep in mind that everything you’re reading (and relying on) about the promises made to Kokinis and how they were broken, comes entirely from Kokinis’ lawyers.

    Even if these statements are all true, you’d have to establish that Mangini was bound by the contract that the Browns signed with Kokinis, and to do that you’d have to establish that Mangini agreed to be so bound. That is, that Mangini would have had to have accepted a contractual obligation to yield to Kokinis on personnel matters. This would likely have had to have been done by a modification to Mangini’s original contract.

    But even if such a modification was made, it could have been undone, even orally, by Lerner’s uttering as much as a sentence to Mangini.

    As it is, neither Florio or WFNY has the contracts, the factual predicate for the analysis of both comes entirely from one side, and all of this speculation requires an assumption that Eric Mangini would have entered into a contract and broken that contract without regard to consequences.

    I guess it’s fun for people who don’t like Mangini to speculate like this, though.

  • Cleveland Frowns

    And what would the “consideration” be for such a modification to Mangini’s contract, anyway?

    I can’t imagine.

  • Cleveland Frowns

    Just read Florio’s latest at Sporting News.

    Hilariously, he lists as one of the reasons why Holmgren should fire Mangini that Mangini might win next season, and then Holmgren would be stuck with him.

    The Mangini witch-hunt is truly something else.

  • Roosevelt

    It is Frowns, it is, but equally painful is your desperate defense. I agree that Mangini ought to stay, but all the signs that point to his departure are not equal in preposterousness. Yes, Mangini did a good job, yes, Cam Cameron is the only guy who we can remember who was fired in a similar scenario, but if Holmgren is another from-the-ground-up guy, he is going to want his own guy in place. And by the way, the football czar thing (though rare) worked for Parcells in NY and Dallas before Miami.

  • Roosevelt

    /comments on Cleveland Frowns @ wfny

  • Cleveland Frowns

    Parcells was coach in both NY and Dallas. That’s a huge difference. The idea that there’s “some guy” out there who will be “Holmgren’s guy” who will be so much better (if at all better) than Mangini strikes me as strange, and something I’ve never seen work.

    That doesn’t mean it can’t work, but I don’t know why everyone would be OK with seeing a good coach run out of town just because it might.

    I will admit that part of my passion in writing about Mangini comes from my certainty that he’s gotten an absurdly bad rap, and that things are no doubt due to come around for him. Maybe it will have to be somewhere else but I don’t see why we wouldn’t want it to happen here.

    Anyway, happy Christmas, everyone.

  • brownshelmet

    The fact is Mangini Traded Braylon Edwards to the Jets without the knowledge or consent of KOKINIS. For that reason Mangini broke his contract

  • Cleveland Frowns

    Which begs the question, helmet: What is a “fact,” anyway?