The Browns job is an attractive opening that should draw interest around the NFL and the college coaching circles.
Many of the pieces a coach wants are present.
The first is the quarterback. The drafting of Baker Mayfield and his play have provided reason to believe he will be the guy going forward. He’s had good moments and he’s had rookie struggles, but his overall approach, effort, competitiveness and football smarts give reason to believe in his future.
Compare the presence of Mayfield on the roster to the quarterbacks past new Cleveland coaches inherited or acquired. Rome Crennel had Trent Dilfer, Charlie Frye and Derek Anderson. Eric Mangini had Brady Quinn, Anderson, Jake Delhomme, Seneca Wallace and Colt McCoy. Pat Shurmur had Colt McCoy and Brandon Weeden. Rob Chudzinski had Weeden, Brian Hoyer and Jason Campbell. Mike Pettine had Hoyer, Johnny Manziel and Josh McCown. And Jackson had Robert Griffin III, McCown, Cody Kessler, DeShone Kizer and Kevin Hogan before the drafting of Mayfield.
With Mayfield, the next coach has more certainty, and talent. He also has a guy Drew Brees said can be better than he (Brees) has been.
That quarterback is the most important factor for any coach taking a job.
Second is the Browns roster has talent, much of it young. On offense, running back Nick Chubb played well enough to force a Carlos Hyde trade. Jarvis Landry will be one of the receivers, joined by Antonio Callaway, who had one of his better overall games in Pittsburgh.
None of the defensive players are past their fourth year in the league.
Those young players were supplemented in the offseason by the roster overhaul of general manager John Dorsey, who transformed 60 percent of the roster via trades and free agent signings.
Dorsey also will have a boatload of salary cap room to work with in the next offseason as well, the third reason this job is attractive.
ESPN’s Roster Management System states the Browns have $59 million in salary cap space. That number is fluid, but Dorsey should have plenty of cap space to add pieces to the team.
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The last reason this job is attractive: Dorsey and the front office he’s built.
Dorsey is a Ron Wolf guy, a man who treats people with respect but a guy who will not tolerate unnecessary drama (witness Jackson and Todd Haley both being let go on the same day). He’s also an aggressive guy who will do all he can to improve a team.
The front office that he built includes Alonzo Highsmith and Eliot Wolf, like Dorsey former Packers front office types whose beliefs are rooted in scouting and personnel. They join holdover Andrew Berry to give any new hire an experienced, credible front office.
The Browns job in the past has been a leftover of sorts, the job folks did not want to take.
That isn’t true with this opening.
This is a job a lot of coaches will want to pursue.