The Cleveland Browns are looking for their next head coach, and for a variety of reasons, Mike McCarthy is the odds-on favorite.
The Browns need a head coach. Mike McCarthy knows the right people to land the job.
McCarthy, 55, was fired by the Green Bay Packers a mid a dismal 4-7-1 season, but he’s clearly the top candidate in Cleveland due to a multitude of factors.
For starters, McCarthy and general manager John Dorsey are exceedingly close from their seven years together in Green Bay. Sources tell FanSided that the two are so close, they have often shared a ride at NFL events such as the Scouting Combine. The two have remained friendly since, and while the Browns won’t hire anybody until after the regular season, sources say that McCarthy ending up in Cleveland is the believed outcome.
Even removing the closeness of the duo, it’s the logical marriage for two sides that need each other.
The incoming coaching class is not particularly strong, with University of Oklahoma football coach Lincoln Riley being the biggest name of the potential first-year hires. Riley’s problem is that he has never worked in the NFL. Unlike Matt Nagy and Sean McVay, who had been offensive coordinators prior to their appointments, Riley will have some struggles putting a staff together.
Additionally, Dorsey will want to find a coach who can turn the program around quickly. The Browns, not known for their patience under Jimmy Haslam, are showing signs of becoming a factor in the AFC playoff picture by 2019. Bringing in an unproven coach runs the risk of stunting that growth. A veteran hire such as McCarthy likely accelerates that curve.
For McCarthy, joining forces with Dorsey makes ample sense. The Browns have Baker Mayfield and building blocks around him in Nick Chubb and Jarvis Landry, along with defensive standouts such as Denzel Ward and Myles Garrett. Cleveland also has a bevy of cap space, projected to be $86.8 million come March. That figure doesn’t include the potential to roll over more than $50 million in unused money from this year.
If there is anything that should concern Dorsey, it’s other jobs becoming available. Of all the spots that may be vacant, only the Carolina Panthers and Pittsburgh Steelers (a longshot with such patient ownership) would be enticing compared to Cleveland. Carolina has a former MVP at quarterback in Cam Newton and a quality front seven. Pittsburgh, which is where McCarthy grew up, is loaded offensively with a Hall of Famer in Ben Roethlisberger under center. Still, it would have to be a complete collapse for Pittsburgh to move on from Mike Tomlin, who has been there since 2007.
Ultimately, Cleveland has the best sales pitch for McCarthy to consider, save if the Steelers make a move.
While matters went stale in Green Bay, McCarthy would bring instant credibility to a franchise that is long on tradition but short on recent success.
With six division titles and a Super Bowl ring, would McCarthy bring plenty of might to Cleveland.