NFL Coaching Rumors: Josh McDaniels enthusiastically interested in coaching Browns, Baker Mayfield

There is no doubt in my mind: the Cleveland Browns job is the best available gig out there for prospective coaching candidates. Ownership is an issue, yes, but John Dorsey is a good GM, the roster is loaded with young talent and Baker Mayfield looks like one of the best young quarterbacks in football. 

My opinion was bolstered by "The NFL Today" crew, which unanimously named it the top job on this past Sunday (watch the show this week ahead of Chargers-Patriots, noon ET, only on CBS!). I am also bolstered by the idea of Josh McDaniels, Patriots offensive coordinator, being "enthusiastically interested" in the job according to a report from Steve Doerschuck of the Canton Rep.

One of the premises of the article is to point out how good the job is now (again, I agree). Doerschuck writes that he hears McDaniels very much likes the job Cleveland has to offer.

McDaniels is enthusiastically interested in the Cleveland opening. The Browns have used back channels to indicate a mutual preliminary interest, but they have not invited him to an early interview. The Green Bay Packers did, and he said yes.

Browns General Manager John Dorsey has been good at cloaking what he is up to, including in the eyes of some obvious candidates. However, indications are that McDaniels is a very serious candidate.

Things can get tricky with McDaniels, though. Just ask the Colts. Last year, McDaniels was hired by Indianapolis ahead of the Patriots Super Bowl matchup against the Eagles. Everyone knew it, it just wasn't announced until after the game, with the Colts making things official on Feb. 6. At the last second McDaniels bailed on Indy, an unprecedented move for anyone not named Bill Belichick (see: his Jets tenure) and returned to New England for a massive deal, more influence and a look behind the Belichick curtain. The story ended fine for the Colts by the way -- they hired Frank Reich and he got them back into the playoffs, with a playoff win and chance for more. They're doing OK. 

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Anyway, with McDaniels, why wouldn't he be interested? CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora's been reporting for months now that McDaniels, despite pulling out of the Colts job, was a hot head coaching candidate again heading into this offseason. JLC also reported on a possible exodus out of New England after the season ends. 

Plus there's a chance to work with Mayfield, to work with Dorsey (no way McDaniels wants to be in charge of personnel after his time in Denver), to get out from Belichick's shadow and to go home -- McDaniels is an Ohio native and would probably relish the idea of bringing the Browns back to prominence. 

Maybe he wants to take over the Patriots one day. Or maybe he realizes that following in the footsteps of Belichick in Foxborough is the riskiest job of all, especially when those footsteps won't feature Tom Brady

Cleveland is an attractive job and it just might land the most attractive candidate when all is said and done. 

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

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