According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Cleveland Browns have requested to interview Patriots Executive V.P. of Player Personnel Scott Pioli.
Lerner said he’s received permission to talk to New England Patriots Executive Vice President Scott Pioli and that he’ll focus on the general manager role next.
As Patriots fans know, Pioli is essentially equal to Belichick in terms of team personnel decisions. He is a huge part in free agency, scouting, the draft, trades, etc. Losing Pioli would be a huge blow to the team, as the majority of personnel decisions would fall into the lap of Bill Belichick.
Pioli has always been a wanted commodity among team presidents. However, the problem is, a team can’t interview another team’s employee until after that team’s season is finished. Usually, for the Patriots, this means that teams can’t interview its employees until late January or even early February. However, with the Patriots failing to qualify for the post-season, Pioli has immediately become available for interview.
This could also open the door for coaches like offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels leaving the team for a head coaching gig, although his name hasn’t yet been mentioned for any specific team (although it is widely speculated he will be a go to guy for the job).
For now, the Patriots just have to wait and hope their top employees stay put.
Update: The Patriots have officially granted the Browns permission to interview Pioli.