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AFC North Q&A: Will Hue Jackson be coaching the Browns or Bengals in 2018?

If the Browns show reasonable improvement in 2017, coach Hue Jackson won't be going anywhere. AP Photo/David J. Phillip

The Cleveland Browns seem committed to head coach Hue Jackson -- but if Marvin Lewis resigns in Cincinnati, speculation about his successor will turn to Jackson, the Bengals' former offensive coordinator. Will Jackson be coaching the Browns or Bengals in 2018? Our AFC North reporters weigh in.

Jeremy Fowler, ESPN's Pittsburgh Steelers reporter: That's a fascinating scenario, and one that Jackson would be foolish not to consider, but I predict he'll coach the Browns in 2018. Jackson can look at the ever-expanding list of Browns head coaches and compare it with Cincinnati, which has supported Lewis through 14 years, zero playoff wins and four losing seasons. The Bengals exhibit patience, a quality that is attractive to any coaching candidate. But the wild card is Jackson's seemingly positive momentum in Cleveland. Though he must win eventually, he has the right makeup for the Browns job and could earn a longer leash as a result. If Cleveland shows reasonable improvement in 2017, Jackson will stay close to Lake Erie.

Jamison Hensley, ESPN's Baltimore Ravens reporter: Browns. I believe Lewis will be coaching the Bengals in 2018, so this point is moot. Even if the Bengals' position opened up, Jackson will stay with the Browns. Jackson was fired by the Oakland Raiders in 2011 after going 8-8. It took five years before another organization put its faith in Jackson to be its head coach. The Browns won't show the same lack of patience that the Raiders had with him. No one would blame Jackson if he wanted to go. It's not as if the Browns have been the portrait of loyalty. Cleveland has had six head coaches since 2008. But these Browns are being built for the future and Jackson will want to see it through after the trials of a one-win season.

Katherine Terrell, ESPN's Cincinnati Bengals reporter: Marvin Lewis might or might not be in Cincinnati in 2018. There has been a lot of speculation about his future as he enters the final season of his contract. Whatever happens to Lewis, it appears the Bengals' window for getting Hue Jackson has passed. The Bengals had discussed a potential succession plan for Jackson to take over for Lewis in 2018 following his retirement, but that never came to fruition and Jackson accepted the head coaching position in Cleveland. Yes, the Browns haven't had much patience with their coaches lately. In fact, two seasons seems to be the going rate for a coach's tenure in Cleveland. But they also appear to be trying to make some changes and have essentially undergone a total rebuild. Of course, he's not totally safe. Jackson is going to have to finish better than 1-15 this time. But the likelihood of Jackson being free to accept a job with the Bengals and Lewis retiring or not having his contract renewed in the same season seems unlikely.