Cleveland announced the move Tuesday. The Browns were expected to make the playoffs and a be a possible Super Bowl contender, according to sports books, after a series of blockbuster moves entering their 2019 campaign. They ended the season with a 6-7 record, finishing in third place in the AFC North.
The Browns were 7-8-1 in 2018, following their 0-16 campaign in 2017. They haven't made the playoffs since 2002 and haven't advanced past the wild card round since 1994. Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam said they spoke to Dorsey over a two-day period and could not come to an agreement on a position that would enable him to remain with the organization.
"We have a great appreciation for John and all he has done with the Cleveland Browns," the Haslams said in a statement. "He has helped create a foundation that we need to continue to develop and build upon.
"While John helped greatly improve our team's talent and we are excited about the core players on our roster, we fully recognized that our team did not meet its potential on or off the field and additional changes in leadership give us the best opportunity for success in the future. As the role of the general manager continues to evolve in this league we felt there were areas that needed to be reassessed."
Dorsey was named general manager on Dec. 7, 2017. The Browns selected Baker Mayfield with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, Dorsey's first draft with the franchise. They also picked Denzel Ward with the No. 4 overall pick and selected Nick Chubb in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft. The Browns selected LSU cornerback Greedy Williams in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft.
Dorsey's blockbuster moves outside of the draft included: trading for Damarious Randall, Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, in addition to trading away Duke Johnson and signing Kareem Hunt. He has also pulled off several trades and made multiple draft picks which have yet to pan out. He hired Freddie Kitchens as his first coach. Kitchens was fired Sunday, following a season-ending loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.
"When I took this job, the history of this storied franchise and the passion of our fans was an integral part of my decision. It is that same understanding and desire to see these fans enjoy the success they are so deserving of that helped me conclude, along with Jimmy and Dee, that it was best to part ways as they embark on the search for a new head coach," Dorsey said. "I know how critical the relationship is between a general manager and head coach and I also know how critical it is that the Browns have a strong leader in their next coach.
"I have a great appreciation for the men and women I have worked with since being in Cleveland and my family has the same love and appreciation for this community and are thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this journey."
Dorsey, 59, served as Kansas City Chiefs general manager for four seasons before taking the Browns job. He also worked as a scout and in the front office for the Green Bay Packers, after a five-year career as a linebacker for the NFC North franchise.
The Haslams said they are looking for a strong leader in their next head coach. They also said they are looking to create the best partnership between the future coach and general manager.
"We know the road of our tenure as stewards of this franchise has been a test of patience as we all want the success that our fans so deserve and we are relentlessly committed to and working toward," the Haslams said. "We fully appreciate, understand and empathize with our fans as we work towards our ultimate goal of building a championship-level football team."