Source: McDaniels was Browns’ safety-net candidate

AP

When Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels conspicuously withdrew his name from consideration for the head-coaching job in Cleveland, something seemed odd.

It seemed even odder as speculation persisted that McDaniels could still end up getting the job, even though he’d publicly said he didn’t want it.

Per a league source, McDaniels indeed remained a candidate for the job until the end.  However, he was regarded a last-resort, safety-net option for the club.

The source explains that only former G.M. Michael Lombardi wanted to hire McDaniels, and that the rest of the power structure (primarily, owner Jimmy Haslam and soon-to-be-former CEO Joe Banner) weren’t sold on McDaniels, who was fired during the second season of his tenure as Broncos head coach.

As MDS noted earlier in the morning, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer has reported that McDaniels indeed remained a candidate until the end of the process, and that McDaniels actually wanted the job.  Others have reported that McDaniels decided he was content to stay in New England until the perfect opportunity emerged.

None of it matters for now, because McDaniels remained in New England.  However, these details could go a long way toward determining McDaniels’ placement on the head-coaching hierarchy in 2015, 2016, or beyond.  He surely hopes to be perceived as an “A”-list option, but the reality of his perception may be somewhat different.