The New England Patriots likely don't plan on making many changes to their coaching staff, but their hand could be forced if some of their top assistants get poached by other teams. The first Patriots name to be mentioned in the coaching carousel? Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. Greg A. Bedard of the Boston Globe reports:
On Dec. 9, after speaking to two influential NFL sources, I wrote that NFL Network analyst Michael Lombardi was a serious candidate to be the next general manager of the Browns should owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner decide to part ways with current GM Tom Heckert and head coach Pat Shurmur.
And if Lombardi was hired, Alabama coach Nick Saban would be the top target followed by Oregon coach Chip Kelly and Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.
But would McDaniels actually leave after just one season? It would depend on the scenario, Bedard writes:
Would McDaniels leave after just one season back in New England? Yes, if it was the right situation. A Banner-Lombardi-McDaniels trio, with McDaniels being a born-and-bred Ohioan and having a chance to rebuild where the Bill Belichick tree was first planted, would be factors that would likely get a blessing from Belichick.
Bedard goes even further, so say that Ryan Mallett would be a potential trade target for Josh McDaniels should he land in Cleveland:
One more log to throw on the fire: those two initial sources said that if Lombardi and McDaniels indeed team up in Cleveland, the chances are good that they will attempt to trade for Patriots backup quarterback Ryan Mallett and install him as the franchise quarterback. Brandon Weeden would be out, or in a backup role.
This is all speculation at this point, and there's a long way to go before any of this would happen. But what do you think? Who would replace McDaniels if he were to depart? Chad O'Shea? And what are your thoughts on a potential Ryan Mallett trade? Personally, with Tom Brady showing zero signs of slowing down, I believe the Patriots should stribgky consider moving Mallett if they could get good value for him (1st or 2nd round pick).