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BOSTON (CBS) – The Cleveland Browns will likely be looking for a new head coach soon, and the Patriots may find another one of Bill Belichick’s coordinators plucked away to fill the void.
According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is one of three potential targets to take over the Browns next season.
McDaniels, a Cleveland native, would reportedly “jump at the chance to coach the Browns.”
New Browns CEO Joe Banner is expected to name Mike Lombardi, who served as Cleveland’s Director of Pro Personnel under Bill Belichick in the 90′s, to be his new general manager. Banner and Lombardi are expected to make a strong push for Alabama head coach Nick Saban, followed by Oregon head coach Chip Kelly, with McDaniels third on the list.
Saban and Kelly should be able to parlay their success in the college ranks into fairly hefty NFL contracts, so McDaniels may be the most realistic option of the three.
While McDaniels is enjoying success in his second stint as New England’s offensive coordinator, it would be hard to believe he passes up another shot at being a head coach — even if it is the Browns. McDaniels was 11-17 over his season and a half at the helm in Denver, and after being fired mid-way through his second season will want to prove he has what it takes to be a head coach in the NFL.
Despite being 5-9 this season, the Browns could have a bright future ahead of them. They’ve won four of their last five games, and are getting strong rookie campaigns out of their two first-round picks, running back Trent Richardson and quarterback Brandon Weeden. Add in McDaniels’ ties to Cleveland, and the move would make sense for both sides.
The Boston Globe’s Greg Bedard adds another interesting wrinkle to the McDaniels-Cleveland equation, saying McDaniels and Lombardi would likely attempt get Patriots backup QB Ryan Mallett to be their franchise quarterback. This would be very similar to how McDaniels attempted to get Matt Cassel to Denver when he took that job back in 2009.
Though some view McDaniels as Bill Belichick’s eventual successor in New England, he may never get that chance if the chips fall the right way in Cleveland.