Browns HC Rumors: Josh McDaniels 'Would Be Eager' to Work with Baker Mayfield

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJanuary 2, 2020

CINCINNATI, OHIO - DECEMBER 29:  Baker Mayfield #6 of the Cleveland Browns celebrates after throwing a touchdown pass during the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on December 29, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels would reportedly be "eager" to work with quarterback Baker Mayfield if hired as the Cleveland Browns' new head coach.

Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com reported Thursday that McDaniels is willing to discuss the vacant job with the Browns following the departure of general manager John Dorsey, which would allow him to pick his own GM, and "it would be hard for him to say no" if offered the position as a Barberton, Ohio, native.

Cleveland has received permission from the Patriots to speak with the former Denver Broncos head coach, per Jim McBride of the Boston Globe. They aren't alone, however, as the Carolina Panthers and New York Giants were also granted clearance for an interview.

When those discussions will take place is unclear because New England opens its Super Bowl defense Saturday night with a clash against the Tennessee Titans in the Wild Card Round.

Mayfield's struggles in his second season after the Browns selected him with the first overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft won't scare McDaniels way from Cleveland, though.

The Patriots assistant met with the 2017 Heisman Trophy winner before the draft and "came away very impressed," a source told Cabot. His scouting report on the Oklahoma quarterback led the Patriots to create contingency plans for a possible trade up, but the Browns quickly dashed those hopes by taking him No. 1.

Mayfield failed to show many signs of improvement in his sophomore season in the NFL, and his overall numbers actually dipped from his rookie year. He completed just 59.4 percent of his throws for 3,827 yards with 22 touchdowns and 21 interceptions for the 6-10 squad.

Turning him into a franchise quarterback is the biggest key to the Browns avoiding an even more extended rebuilding process.

McDaniels helped journeyman Kyle Orton deliver two of the best seasons of his career during his tenure in Denver, which lasted less than two years before getting fired during the 2010 campaign. That lends hope to his chances of finding success with the more talented Mayfield.

Whether it's the Pats assistant or someone else, it's clear the Browns are seeking an offensive-minded coach to take over the staff. Cabot noted the other candidates include three more offensive coordinators: the Buffalo Bills' Brian Daboll, Kansas City Chiefs' Eric Bieniemy and Minnesota Vikings' Kevin Stefanski.

All four are taking part in the NFL playoffs, so it could take some time before Cleveland makes a choice.


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