Fresh off of their soul-crushing loss to the Washington Redskins, it appears that the inevitable shake-up of the Cleveland Browns front office and coaching staff is starting to take more shape. From ESPN Cleveland’s Tony Grossi:
It is commonly believed that GM Tom Heckert and coach Pat Shurmur will not be back. Heckert, my sources say, knew it the day Banner reported to work in October as Haslam’s CEO. Shurmur surely knows it now, after that coaching debacle against Washington on Sunday.
Banner has diagramed an organization chart that calls for football operations to report to him. That means Heckert’s position will be replaced by a glorified player personnel director who will work closely with Banner. He may win some battles but ultimately he will have no real authority to establish a vision, pick players or make trades. Banner will set the agenda.
So who would accept these restrictions? Someone who has been out of the league for five years – Mike Lombardi.
Grossi continues by listing three coaching candidates who could join Lombardi in Cleveland: Alabama’s Nick Saban, Oregon’s Chip Kelly, and New England’s offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. Saban is rumored to be on the receiving end of a 10-year, $100 million deal, but has no interest in coming to Cleveland, especially if it is Lombardi who is calling shots.
Kelly would be a serious candidate, but is rumored to want full control of the roster if he would accept a head coaching spot in the NFL. With Banner and, potentially, Lombardi in tow, this would not happen in Cleveland.
The third choice, and potentially the most likely to actually happen, would be former Denver Broncos head coach and current New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. A native of Canton, Ohio, there are ties to the area; at age 36, he is not considered to be much of a retread despite his failed attempt at Mile High. Grossi adds that if it were McDaniels who is hired, it would likely meant that Dick Jauron would be retained as defensive coordinator.