Mike McCarthy posted a 125-77-2 record during his 13 seasons as head coach of the Green Bay Packers from 2006 through the middle of the 2018 season, but the team chose to make him available earlier. That is, they fired him.
The Cleveland Browns happen to be another team that fired their head coach mid-stream this season, deposing Hue Jackson after two-plus seasons in which he won a whopping four games, plus a tie. Jackson has already found another job as a Special Assistant with the Cincinnati Bengals, for whom he has previously worked on a number of occasions.
It was an attractive landing spot for Jackson. Cleveland could be attractive for McCarthy as well, as the Browns spent a lot of time over the course of the past year pilfering the Packers’ front office staff. Not only is General Manager John Dorsey a former Packers player, scout, and director of football operations, he also brought in others along with him.
Dorsey’s assistant general manager is Eliot Wolf, son of former Packers general manager Ron Wolf. Eliot spent his entire career in the Packers’ front office from 2004 until 2018, rising all the way up to director of football operations, before he joined the Browns’ staff.
Then there is Alonzo Highsmith, who broke into the executive ranks with the Packers in 2012, and again, held his post with Green Bay until he joined Dorsey with the Browns. Odds are there are other connections that can be made as well. At the very least, McCarthy coached Browns center J.C. Tretter for four years before he signed with the Browns in free agency last year.
Outside of the familiar faces, it’s also clear that this is an up-and-coming team that actually looks to finally have a quarterback that can scrounge up a winning record in perhaps the not too distant future. Baker Mayfield has been hands down the most impressive of the rookie quarterbacks so far this season.
Then there is Nick Chubb, Denzel Ward, and Antonio Callaway, another trio of rookies who have played well already this season. Genard Avery joins that group, and Austin Corbett figures to be a starter along the offensive line by next season, I would think.
Dorsey has a successful draft history, including the 2018 draft class with the Browns, and he has personnel around him with whom he has worked well in the past. They all know McCarthy and have spoken highly of him.
In other words, don’t be surprised if we see him returning to Pittsburgh every year starting in 2019 if he becomes Cleveland’s next head coach. You can guarantee that he will be getting a lot interview requests, but for perhaps the first time since they came back into the league, the Browns may have the most attractive opening.