The Browns are on the hunt for a new head coach and Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is at the top of their list. Browns GM Michael Lombardi is a longtime friend of Patriots overlord Bill Belichick and has the permission to interview JMcD for the lead role in Cleveland.
From guys like Ian Rapoport, Albert Breer, Adam Schefter, and Jason La Canfora, JMcD is the favorite to assume the lead role. McDaniels is known for taking the Broncos head coaching spot in 2009, drafting basically their entire offense (Knowshon Moreno, Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Zane Beadles), getting off to a 6-0 start and getting fired midway through 2010 after falling 5-17.
McDaniels spent the 2011 season cleansing himself in St. Louis as their offensive coordinator, before coming back to the Patriots to reassume his OC role. The belief was that McDaniels would either be the long term solution to an inevitable Belichick retirement (not really likely as Belichick is 61 years young), or that JMcD needed a couple seasons to "refresh" himself before throwing his hat back into the head coaching ring.
I'm sure that his time in Denver was a humbling experience for Josh, and that he'll come back as a better coach for having gone through it. There's no doubt that he has an eye for talent on offense and his brash persona that he adopted in Denver will likely be more reserved in future endeavors.
In his stead, don't be surprised if current assistant Brian Daboll is promoted to offensive coordinator. Daboll left the Patriots in 2007 after the Patriots passed him over for the coordinator spot in favor of Josh McDaniels. He returned this past off season after stints as offensive coordinator in Cleveland, Miami, and Kansas City to an assistant role with the Patriots.
Former Patriots OC Bill O'Brien has accepted the head coaching role for the Houston Texans. While I'm sure there's a bad taste in the mouths of his Penn State recruits who opted to stay and follow their new head coach (instead of transferring to a bowl eligible program without penalty), there's no question that BO'B was destined for the big show.
CBS's Jason La Canfora reports that O'Brien would like to bring along Patriots tight end coach George Godsey to Texas. Godsey was recruited to the Patriots staff by O'Brien, after being the quarterbacks and running backs coach at the University of Central Florida. It's likely that Godsey will be the quarterbacks coach for the Texans.
Should Godsey move to Houston, and Josh McDaniels receive the Browns job, the Patriots would be left with two holes to fill. If Daboll takes the offensive coordinator spot, there will be an unknown vacancy at the tight end coaching position.
One solution could be to expand the role of wide receivers coach Chad O'Shea. O'Shea has been with the Patriots since 2009, and has a distant (and probably not overlooked) history of being the TE coach for the University of Houston in 1998 and 1999. O'Shea is a favorite of Belichick and has a very well rounded background as a coach on all three facets of the ball. While it's unlikely that O'Shea will put on another hat, in addition to his wide receivers coaching gig, look for him to be a name in the future if Daboll is given a similar opportunity that McDaniels is going through right now.
Another possibility is coaching assistant Jerry Schuplinski. Schuplinski comes from the John Carroll pipeline (like Josh McDaniels and director of player personnel Nick Caserio). He is a well rounded coach, having been named John Carroll's defensive coordinator before accepting the Patriots job, as well as a special teams coordinator for six seasons. He's currently an "offensive quality control" coach, similar to Bill O'Brien's first job with the Patriots, as well as both former TE coaches Godsey and Brian Ferentz.
A third inside name is Steve Belichick, son of Lord William. Steve is in his second season as a coaching assistant with the Patriots, having been a long snapper at Rutgers. While I'm sure Bill would love his son to cut his teeth in the special teams game, he remains a viable option as a tight end coach.