The Cleveland Browns top candidate for their head coaching vacancy was New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, but he crossed his name off of the list and decided to stick around in Foxboro. Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner are focusing on hiring an offense-minded head coach after flirting with the likes of Bob Stoops and James Franklin in the college ranks, and now their top candidate is Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase. The Browns will be rooting against the Broncos this afternoon against the San Diego Chargers, because a Chargers win would allow the Browns to interview Gase. While the Browns very much want Gase to be their next head coach, it is unclear as to how long they would be willing to wait for the Broncos to lose.
There’s also the matter of the Browns head coaching job being an unattractive one despite the team’s talent on defense and a few stars on offense like Jordan Cameron, Josh Gordon, Joe Thomas, and Alex Mack. The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported earlier today that the Browns vacancy was becoming less attractive to candidates due to conversations that they had with Rob Chudzinski. Firing a head coach after just one season on the job is never a good look for an organization, and the decision has likely come to bite them. Candidates have unsurprisingly asked Chud about his time with the Browns, and Rapoport reported that Chudzinski was honest with them, thus hurting the Browns stature in the eyes of prospective Browns head coaches.
Rapoport’s NFL Network colleague Albert Breer backs up the report by tweeting that he is getting the “increased feeling” that the Browns head coaching vacancy is seen as “radioactive” by “people around the league”. It’s a hole that they dug themselves into, and all they can hope for is to hire one of their top candidates, which seem to be Gase and Ben McAdoo.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Mary Kay Cabot refuted Rapoport’s report that Chudzinski has been asked by Browns head coaching candidates about the job and has been candid with those candidates in his responses, but Rapoport tweeted that he stands by his report.