The Cleveland Browns appear to be zoning in even more on Hue Jackson to be their next head coach. They aren't quite there yet, but let's recap today's developments.
Jimmy Haslam Stays Behind for Second Interview
The NFL owners were meeting in Houston today, particularly to make the all-important decision regarding the futures of the Oakland Raiders, St. Louis Rams, and San Diego Chargers. Jimmy Haslam was not present at the meetings, but his wife, Dee Haslam, was:
Why wasn't [Jimmy] Haslam present in Houston? Because he was staying behind to take part in a second interview with Jackson, the first candidate for the Browns' vacancy to receive a second interview.
What Does the Second Interview Mean?
When you start conducting your second interviews, it likely means that you are finished with your first interviews. Although it would be attractive to put a feeler out to a guy like Tom Coughlin, bringing another candidate into the pool at this point gives the impression that you're not confident you can land your real target.
Expect the Browns to bring in somebody else for a second interview. If it doesn't work out with Jackson, the team needs to be prepared with a fallback plan, while giving the impression that they aren't settling for the last-draw candidate like they potentially did with former head coach Mike Pettine.
Sounds like the 49ers are no longer in the Hue Jackson sweepstakes. They COULD double-back, but sounds like that pursuit is over for now.— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) January 12, 2016
The Browns and 49ers were the original teams vying for the services of Jackson. Now, it appears as though the 49ers are bowing out of the race, and it's believed that it could be because of the level of interest Cleveland is showing. The New York Giants have an interview with Jackson scheduled for Thursday, though.
Will the Browns Make an Offer?
Cleveland wants to play their cards the right way before making an offer to Jackson. If they firmly believe that Jackson is going to at least meet with the Giants regardless of whether Cleveland makes an offer or not, then it doesn't really make sense for them to make an offer. If they did, Jackson could use Cleveland's deal as leverage with the Giants. If the Giants conduct their first interview, though, and then Cleveland calls him up to make him an offer, they might have a better chance of having him accept.
The alternative is for the Browns to push really hard for Jackson and go all-in to the point where he bypasses his meeting with the Giants. With a consulting firm on board for the Browns search, though, I'm not so sure that Cleveland is going to conduct themselves in such a desperate manner.
UPDATE (9:57 PM): According to Mary Kay Cabot of the Plain Dealer, the Browns haven't made an offer to Jackson yet because they haven't made up their mind. She also says that Jackson's meeting with the Giants will be on Wednesday, not Thursday.