A Browns spokesman tells Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer the idea that current Browns owner Jimmy Haslam could swap franchises to own the Titans is “100% false.”
“It’s 100% false,” said the Browns spokesman. “There is no truth to the careless speculation from the reporter.”
However, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes that this “feels like a lot more than “careless speculation.”
Florio reiterates that Haslam didn’t purchase the team to own the the Cleveland Browns, but instead to own and operate an NFL franchise.
On top of that, Florio mentions that Haslam was believed to be one of the candidates to purchase the Titans for a number of years before he ultimately elected to get involved in the bidding process for the Browns.
Jason La Canfora reports that there is “stronger buzz than ever” that the Titans will eventually be sold now that Tommy Smith has stepped down as team president.
“It’s long been known in NFL circles that the Titans could be purchased in 2015, and Smith’s departure is now being read as a loud signal that a transaction is more likely than ever (I’ve been reporting on the strong likelihood the Titans are sold in 2015 since last fall),” writes La Canfora.
La Canfora metions that Dave Tepper, who currently owns five percent of the Steelers, is viewed by some league insiders to be the front-runner to eventually purchase the Titans when/if they put on the market.
According to La Canfora, there have been some “rumblings” that Browns owner Jimmy Haslam could be interested in swapping ownership of the Browns for Titans.
Haslam reportedly wanted to purchase the Titans a few years ago, but it would have required him to wait for the team to be available, and potentially compete with some very wealthy bidders like Fred Smith (Fedex) and Tepper for the team.
Citing “several highly-placed” sources, La Canfora mentions that some backroom talks about swapping ownership of the teams could very well take place in the coming months.
“Don’t ignore the possibility of a swap with the Browns when that time comes,” said one source who deals directly with many ownership groups tells La Canfora.
There are clearly a number of obstacles that could prevent this from being even a remote possibility, but La Canfora isn’t completely ruling the idea out.
We’ll have more regarding the Titans as the news is available.