On Sunday, news broke that the Cleveland Browns had hired Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski as their 12th head coach this Millennium.
Meaning for the Patriots that offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, whom most experts said was a front runner for 2 or 3 top jobs this off-season, has been skunked again.
Hell, even Patriots special teams/receivers coach Joe Judge got a head coaching job when he agreed to take the reins of the New York Football Giants (TM Chris Berman).
The rumor that emerged after the announcement of Stefanski as the new Browns coach was that McDaniels wanted wide spread changes to the organization (who wouldn’t if you were taking over the Browns?) and owner Jimmy Haslem wouldn’t agree to them. You know, because the Browns have to cling to what’s made them so, yeah well, they didn’t want to change. So Cleveland hired an OC from Minnesota whose entire offense seems to be based around Kirk Cousins throwing check-downs and dump offs and I’m not sure Baker Mayfield is tall enough to dump off.
What does this mean for the New England Patriots?
It means, in what is being treated as the greatest cross roads the organizations has encountered since Kraft kept the team from fleeing to St. Louis, is that one piece of the championship puzzle is staying put.
McDaniels staying in New England has to have a positive impact on Tom Brady’s decision on whether to stay in New England or forge his legacy elsewhere. If you’re a 42-year old quarterback, looking to play 2 or 3 more seasons, the last thing you want to do is work a completely new system.
It would almost make sense for Brady to want to leave if McDaniels left, because he knows he’d be working with a new OC even if he returned to New England. While I’ve been firmly in the “Brady will ultimately return to the Patriots” camp, I did see some merit in the theory that McDaniels would take a head coaching gig, bring in Brady, draft the qb of the future and start his tenure that way. Brady would have the familiarity of a system even in a new surrounding.
It doesn’t look like that is going to be the case, unless of course McDaniels some how forces his way out of New England to take the same job elsewhere. I have a hard time believing this because he wouldn’t leave his OC role in New England for a head job in Indy two years ago, so a lateral move doesn’t seem likely.
Will Josh McDaniels staying in Foxborough be the sole reason that Tom Brady returns to the Patriots in 2020? No, but it certainly doesn’t hurt and absolutely is a point in favor of the only franchise he’s ever known.