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Josh McDaniels Emerging as the Browns' Leading Candidate

The Browns already have an early top candidate to replace Rob Chudzinski as head coach, and his name is Josh McDaniels.

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The early reports seem to be leaning toward New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels being the leading candidate to be the next head coach of the Cleveland Browns. Although Bill Belichick could not comment when asked earlier, Albert Breer of says that the Patriots will allow the Browns to interview McDaniels while they are on the bye:

Monday night, Will Burge (formerly of ESPN Cleveland) reported that a McDaniels-to-Cleveland plan might have been in place the whole time with the firing of Rob Chudzinski. In fact, he speculates that McDaniels is already putting his staff together for Cleveland:

Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports thinks that it's McDaniels' job to lose:

Even if Cleveland offers McDaniels the job, there is no guarantee that he will accept -- he may be content to just stay as the offensive coordinator for the Patriots, a gig where he's been mightily successful with quarterback Tom Brady. The Browns are expected to line up plenty of other candidates for interviews over the coming weeks, since they wouldn't be able to officially hire McDaniels until after the Patriots are eliminated from the playoffs. For all we know, that might not be until some time in February.