CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Browns have been patient and diligent in the search for their next head coach, but with interviews with prospective candidates stretching into a second week and every other team (Washington, Dallas, Carolina and New York Giants) filling their vacancies already, the team is looking to strike a deal quickly.
According to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, the Browns have three more interviews scheduled this week: Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz Wednesday, Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski Thursday and New England Patriots offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Josh McDaniels Friday, and “want to have a deal in place by Saturday.”
Along with the three remaining interviews, the Browns have spoken with a Super Bowl winner in Mike McCarthy and prominent offensive coordinators in Greg Roman (Baltimore Ravens), Eric Bieniemy (Kansas City Chiefs) and Brian Daboll (Buffalo Bills), as well as San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh regarding their opening.
McCarthy is no longer available, as he reached an agreement to become the Cowboys’ next head coach, while four of the other seven candidates, Bieniemy, Saleh, Roman and Stefanski, are coaching in the playoffs this weekend.
Either Saleh or Stefanski will be available by Sunday, as the Vikings play against the 49ers at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California Saturday afternoon, while the Ravens would have to lose to Tennessee or the Chiefs lose to Houston if the Browns wanted to hire either Roman or Bieniemy.
The Browns are looking for their 18th full-time time head coach and the 12th since the franchise returned to the National Football League in 1999 after parting ways with Freddie Kitchens following a 6-10 record during the 2019 season.
The Browns last qualified for postseason play during the 2002 season and have the longest active playoff drought in the NFL.
In addition to missing the playoffs for the 17th straight time, the Browns finished the 2019 season with a sub .500 record for the 12th consecutive year. The Browns last finished above .500 when they had a 10-6 record in 2007.