Cleveland Browns Rumors & News

Exec Expects Browns To Take Josh Allen

The Browns have again landed the No. 1 pick, and after years of stalling, the franchise is expected to try its hand at a first-round quarterback again. But a third name might be creeping into the race alongside Josh Rosen and Sam Darnold. ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. projects (Insider link) Josh Allen to be the name called to go to Cleveland at No. 1, and a “high-level personnel executive” concurs. The NFL exec told Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com he expects John Dorsey to take Allen at No. 1 overall, and this anonymous decision-maker likens the Wyoming product to a young Ben Roethlisberger. Although, Rosen and Darnold — prior to the workout season — are viewed as readier prospects to run an NFL offense. Cabot notes the same exec told her two years ago the Browns would be set up for 15 years if they were to take Carson Wentz. A three-quarterback pursuit for said No. 1 pick, coupled with the anticipated plethora of available passers on the free agency and trade markets, would make this one of the more interesting offseasons in modern NFL history.

  • Ben McAdoo remains in the running for the Browns’ OC position, Cabot reports. Ken Zampese and Texans quarterbacks coach Sean Ryan have interviewed for the post, but Cabot reports Ryan wants to call plays. She adds the Browns might not give him that opportunity due to a lack of experience doing so but notes McAdoo may get that chance since he’s done so previously. Mike Mularkey remains on the radar for this job as well, but Cabot notes he has yet to interview. ESPN’s Josina Anderson reported McAdoo is taking his time in making a decision about where he lands.
  • The Browns finishing the process of hiring an OC without meeting with ex-Steelers play-caller Todd Haley would make for a big surprise, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports tweets. Haley’s also been connected to the Jets’ OC job.

Coaching Rumors: Cardinals, McAdoo, Fins

The Cardinals interviewed two more head coach candidates today, but the search will continue into next week, according to Kent Somers of AZCentral Sports. The Cardinals have met with Steve Wilks and Keith Armstrong twice and will not need to interview current defensive coordinator James Bettcher another time because of his history with the organization. The team will also interview John DeFilippo and Brian Flores next week, per Mike Jurecki of ArizonaSports.com (Twitter link).

In addition, Somer states that the team could look at giving Jim Schwartz a second interview, but Jurecki did not mention the Eagles defensive coordinator in his tweet. The search is mostly continuing because both the Eagles and Patriots will be playing in their respective conference championships, so depending on how the games shake out, Arizona could resolve their head coaching search by the end of next week.

Finally, Somers importantly notes that former Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians has recommended Bettcher and Armstrong among this pool of coaches the front office is considering.

Here are more a coaching notes from around the NFL:

  • In more Cardinals coaching staff news, now two former staffers have now left for new opportunities, reports Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com (Twitter link). In addition to former special teams coordinator Amos Jones moving onto the same position with the Browns, former wide receiver coach Darryl Drake has been hired by the Steelers.
  • Hue Jackson is adding an offensive coordinator to his staff and have interviewed former Giants head coach Ben McAdoo for the job. He interviewed with the Browns three days ago and apparently “It went fine”, a Browns source tells Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Anderson adds that the source mentioned that they are “Just not going to rush into anything” after speaking to two candidates as of right now. Cleveland is also interviewing a high profile college coach in LSU’s RB coach Tommy Robinson for the same position on their staff, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link).
  • The Dolphins announced a slew of coaching moves today. The biggest apart from Dowell Loggains being brought on as offensive coordinator is former OC Clyde Christensen being reassigned as the team’s new director of football and player development. Shawn Jefferson was wide receivers coach, but will now be an assistant head coach working with the offense. They are also are promoting Ben Johnson to WR coach. He got experience with this group of players as an assistant WR coach last season.
  • The Bears have named Brock Olivo as the team’s new assistant special teams coach, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. Olivo was the Broncos’ special teams coordinator last year and was with Matt Nagy on the Chiefs’ staff from 2014-16 as an assistant to special teams coordinator Dave Toub. He previously was a former running back for the Lions back in his playing days.
  • The Texans have promoted Anthony Midget to the team’s secondary coach, according to Mark Berman of Fox26 (Twitter link). Berman also notes that they have also hired Danny Barret as the RB coach and Tracy Smith as an assistant special teams coach.

Browns’ Joe Thomas Discusses Future

Browns tackle Joe Thomas is still undecided about whether he wants to play in 2018. However, he plans on letting the team know his plans sooner rather than later. Joe Thomas (vertical)

I don’t think there’s any real rush at this point,” he told Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. “Obviously, they want to know before the draft and free agency, so that if they have make different plans if I’m not going to be there, they want to know about it. I told them I’ll make a decision when I’m ready and let them know and give them as much time as I possibly can.”

The Browns gave Thomas a $3MM raise in November which would make him the league’s highest paid offensive lineman in 2018 at a $13.5MM salary. Thomas is due to collect on a $3MM bonus on March 18, but Thomas seems to be indicating that he’ll notify the team in advance of the legal tampering period on March 12.

In 2017, a torn triceps tendon ended Thomas’ NFL-record streak of 10,363 snaps, but that’s not the injury that has him on the fence about playing. Instead, Thomas says its his lingering knee and back issues that have him thinking about walking away.

If Thomas does take the field in 2018, he won’t rule out the possibility of continuing his career into 2019.

I’m not ready to say anything definitively because I’d hate to be wrong,” he said. “Because I’ve seen how a lot of other guys’ careers has ended. I grew up in Wisconsin a Brett Favre fan and I’ve seen how many times he was definitely not going to come play and then he played for the Jets and the Vikings. So I don’t want to say anything definitively. I don’t know. It’s hard to say. But what I can say is this is my last year on my contract in Cleveland. I don’t want to play anywhere else. I guess I haven’t thought that far yet.”

In previous interviews, Thomas indicated that he would be more inclined to play next year if the Browns were positioned to win. The veteran is of the belief that the Browns at least have a chance at a turnaround season.

Honestly, the way I look at 2018 for the Browns is $100MM in cap space, the first and the fourth pick,” he said. “If you look back historically, if you added two guys in free agency that were both $25MM a year, you could assume that they’re probably Hall of Fame-caliber. Then you add a first pick and a fourth pick who presumably could be Hall of Fame guys, or more likely probably Pro Bowl guys, you’ve now added four blue chip players to your roster. Now you’re totally transformed your team.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Browns Land New ST Coordinator

  • For the first time since 2010, someone other than Chris Tabor will oversee the Browns‘ ST units. Amos Jones will relocate to Cleveland to take over as the team’s special teams boss, Marvez tweets. Jones coached the Cardinals’ ST groups during Bruce Arians‘ five-year stay in Arizona. Tabor is now the Bears’ ST coordinator.

Browns Notes: Mularkey, Luper

The Browns are “in discussions” with former Titans head coach Mike Mularkey regarding their offensive coordinator vacancy, according to Pat McManamon of ESPN.com. Mularkey, who was fired by Tennessee on Monday, was loosely connected to Cleveland yesterday, with reports indicating Hue Jackson & Co. would be interested in Mularkey if he were to come available. As of yet, the Browns have not set up a formal interview with Mularkey, but such a meeting could soon occur. Mularkey would become the third definitive candidate for Cleveland’s OC job, joining Texans quarterbacks coach Sean Ryan and former Giants head coach Ben McAdoo. A three-time head coach, Mularkey has coordinated offenses for the Steelers, Dolphins, and Falcons.

  • Mularkey isn’t the only coach in whom the Browns are interested, as Cleveland has also interviewed TCU co-offensive coordinator Curtis Luper for their running backs coach position, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. If hired, Luper would replace Kirby Wilson, who was fired last week after two seasons with the Browns. Luper, 56, has never coached at the NFL level, but has worked in NCAA roles since 1995, with stops including New Mexico, Oklahoma State, and Auburn. He’s been at TCU since 2013, and was promoted from RBs coach to co-offensive coordinator in 2017.

Browns Interview Ben McAdoo

The Browns are interviewing former Giants coach Ben McAdoo for their offensive coordinator vacancy, according to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com (on Twitter). McAdoo has a history with new GM John Dorsey, which could make him a favorite for the position. Ben McAdoo

After an ugly final season in New York, McAdoo must rebuild his stock before he can be considered for another head coaching job. While his ability to lead a locker room has been questioned, his offensive acumen and play-calling ability is what got him the Giants’ top job in the first place. Hue Jackson is finally ready to allow someone else to call plays and McAdoo would seem to be a strong candidate to take over.

McAdoo was the Giants’ offensive coordinator in 2014 and 2015. In 2016, he took over as head coach when the team pushed out Tom Coughlin. He started off with an 11-5 season, but he was sacked this year when the team had amassed only two wins through December. In McAdoo’s defense, he wasn’t left with much to work with on offense when the team’s top receivers all suffered serious injuries at the start of the year.

Fired Titans coach Mike Mularkey is also in the mix for the job and Texans quarterbacks coach Sean Ryan recently interviewed with Jackson for the position.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Future/Reserve Contracts: 1/15/18

Here are the latest reserve/futures contract signings from around the NFL. These deals will go into effect on the first day of the 2018 league year, with players joining their respective clubs’ offseason 90-man rosters:

Cleveland Browns

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

Tennessee Titans

Browns Interested In Mike Mularkey?

Mike Mularkey is out of a job, but he should have plenty of employment options for the coming season. One possibility could be in Cleveland. This offseason, the Browns had interest in bringing Mularkey in as their new offensive coordinator if he ever became available, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweetsMike Mularkey (vertical)

Under Mularkey’s guidance, the Titans went 9-7 in back-to-back seasons and reached the playoffs in 2017. Whether that’s enough to put him in the conversation for the league’s remaining head coaching vacancies, however, remains to be seen. If Mularkey cannot put himself in the mix for the Cardinals, Lions, or Giants jobs, his best bet might be to take an OC position for at least one season and try his luck next winter.

At first glance, the Browns OC job seems unappealing given that the team has gone 1-31 over the last two seasons. However, the Browns offer potential on a number of levels. With the No. 1 and No. 4 overall picks plus tons of cap room at their disposal, the Browns and new GM John Dorsey could position themselves as a winning team in 2018. Conversely, if the Browns get off to another slow start, someone like Mularkey could theoretically get a crack at the interim head coaching job with the potential to take over the post.

In December, Jackson admitted that he held off on hiring an OC because he did not want to saddle someone with a talent-poor offense. Now that the Browns are in (seemingly) capable hands, it sounds like he intends to bring one on staff.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Al Saunders Will Transition To New Role With Browns

  • The Browns announced that senior offensive assistant/wide receivers coach Al Saunders will transition to an advisory role with the franchise, as he’s been named senior assistant/special projects. Saunders served as the Chargers head coach back in the 1980s, and he’s since spent time with the Chiefs, Rams, Redskins, Ravens, Raiders, and Dolphins.

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