On Friday, New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was in Berea, Ohio to interview with the Cleveland Browns for their vacant head coaching position. According to reports, the meeting took seven hours and saw McDaniels bring his wife Laura along, but no contract was offered to the 43-year-old as of Friday night. McDaniels then traveled back to New England, even though he could still be offered the position after all.
Per Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot, the Browns’ search committee is aiming to make a decision over the weekend and with four of the team’s seven candidates — Eric Bieniemy (Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator), Greg Roman (Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator), Robert Saleh (San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator), Kevin Stefanski (Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator) — coaching their respective teams in the NFL’s divisional playoff round over the next two days.
McDaniels, meanwhile, is one of three candidates alongside Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz and Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll whose teams have already exited the postseason and who are therefore allowed to sign a contract with the Browns right away. The other four men listed above, on the other hand, would have to wait to be offered the position until their clubs are eliminated from the playoffs as well.
The result of the divisional round games could therefore have an impact on the search, in case Cleveland does not want to wait to hire a head coach until next week or maybe even after the Super Bowl in early February. Two things seem certain, though, in the meantime:
- McDaniels, who is considered one of the favorites together with Stefanski snd Saleh, will learn about a potential offer in the coming days.
- McDaniels returning to New England gives the Patriots a theoretical chance to offer him another new contract — a similar scenario as in 2017, when he decided to decline the opportunity to coach the Indianapolis Colts at the last moment.
The situation, however, remains a fluid one and could end either way at this point in time: McDaniels gets offered the job and leaves New England after serving as the team’s offensive coordinator for the last eight years straight, or the Browns decide to go with another assistant to take over the team — possibly one who sees his playoffs come to an end on Saturday or Sunday.