Cleveland Browns Chief Strategy Officer Paul DePodesta answered questions via conference call concerning free agency as well as preparations for the draft, some of the philosophies they hold. He is confident that his contract will be worked out but the logistics of COVID-19 and everything else they have had to get done have prevented it from being addressed at the moment.
DePodesta also joked that he's more prepared than most because he's got so much experience working from home.
“(Senior Vice President of Communications) Peter (John-Baptiste) and I were joking, I probably have a little more experience working from home the most (laughter). At least that is what people seem to think. It really has not been too bad at all. I think if you look at the grand scheme of things with what people are dealing with in the world, what we have had to deal with is trivial. Trying to make sure that we get set up and have virtual meetings as opposed to doing it face-to-face pales in comparison to what a lot of real people are dealing with on a day-to-day basis right now. I do not think any of this is seen as a really big deal. It has just been a challenge to overcome, but we are completely focused on the players just like we always are. I just do not think it will be materially different. My biggest disappointment for this year because of the circumstance is that we all can’t be together to really enjoy it. It has been an incredibly collaborative exercise to date, and I think it is going to be an incredibly collaborative experience next Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Ultimately, it would be fantastic if we could all experience that together in the same room and in the same building with all of our coaches, with all of our scouts and with all of our football personnel. Unfortunately, we will not be able to do that piece of it. I think that is a shame. In terms of picking players and the execution of our plan, I feel great about where we are and do not think the setup is going hinder us in any way whatsoever.” - Paul DePodesta
The setup in the various offices for the Browns personnel covers all of their bases for the NFL Draft.
“My home office has definitely enhanced from what it was previously. (Vice President of Information Technology) Brandon Covert and his team of IT folks at the Browns have done an unbelievable job of setting all of us up to make sure that we are functioning. I do have an official draft phone here in my office. I have multiple screens. I have some backup generator and backup internet just in case things go down. I think we will be in really good shape. My setup is going to mirror what probably eight or nine of us in the organization have.”
DePodesta addressed the rumors of a potential trade with Beckham as well as reports that he was unhappy in Cleveland. First, the idea of trading Beckham
“In short, I will just say it was completely false. It is frustrating a little bit, obviously. I think it is pretty clear what we are trying to build at this point. We have done an awful lot in free agency. We are excited about what we have a chance to do in the draft, and we are really building around a core of players that we think have a chance to be a championship-caliber core. The idea that we would take away from that core at this moment just does not make a whole lot of sense and is really not something that we are exploring at all. It is completely false.”
On Beckham's reported unhappiness:
“I would probably leave that to Odell and Kevin (Stefanski) to talk about. I am not going to speculate on it, but I have no reason to believe he doesn’t want to be here. Odell has been very good this offseason. He has been engaged with Kevin. I think he is excited about the possibilities of what this offensive system could bring for him, and we are excited to have him.”