For more news and notes from Jason La Canfora, tune into The NFL Today Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET on CBS
The Cleveland Browns have not given up hope on landing Denver offensive coordinator Adam Gase as their next head coach, according to league sources, and, as the first person they wanted to interview for the job, are hopeful they eventually get the chance to do so. Furthermore, from the college ranks, Browns officials remain very intrigued by Auburn's Gus Malzahn, source said, and have not given up on landing him as well.
Team officials realizes it may be a longshot to land Malzahn, who nearly won a national title at Auburn and is very happy there, but his offensive innovation and the style of offense he runs is very much in line with what the team would like to put in place (the Browns are also very high on quarterback Johnny Manziel, sources said, who would be a perfect fit in a Malzahn offense). The Browns immediately asked to talk to Gase following their firing of Rob Chudzinski at the end of the regular season, but were informed he would not do any interviews, if at all, until after Denver's season ends.
There are no guarantees that Gase will interview, and, some close to him believe he will remain uniquely equipped to be the it coordinator a year from now. Considering he will continue to work with Peyton manning in Denver -- who set NFL records for yardage and touchdowns this regular season -- and given how young Gase is, the possibility exists that a number of teams will approach him heavily next January, and he could have his pick of jobs (as was the case with former Denver offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, now the head coach in San Diego). Meanwhile, if the Broncos continue to win and other jobs get filled, it's conceivable Cleveland is the only opening still available this winter.
In the meantime, if the Panthers lose this weekend, there is a good chance the Browns interview Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott, as they continue to evaluate potential replacements and continue their search. The team expected the process would take at least two weeks, and, in the end, if they are able to land someone like Gase or Malzahn, the amount of time it takes will be considered, within that front office, as well worth it.