After having three head-coaching interviews scheduled for this week, Saturday has come and New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels has only been a part of one of those interviews. His lone interview was with the Cleveland Browns on Friday.
McDaniels was scheduled to meet with the Panthers on Tuesday and the Giants on Wednesday. But when Tuesday came, Carolina had already hired Matt Rhule to be their head coach, and New York had hired Joe Judge. So why was McDaniels not given an opportunity to speak with those organizations before they made their hires? According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, it may have had to do with the fact that Patriots head coach Bill Belichick refused to let McDaniels move up his interviews to earlier in the week.
"Despite New England being eliminated from the playoffs in the Wild Card round Saturday night, multiple sources from teams that had requested interviews with McDaniels said Belichick would not relent to move up their window to speak with McDaniels in the immediate days following that defeat," La Canfora wrote Saturday morning. "Brady's future is very much in limbo, with the 43-year old quarterback contemplating playing elsewhere in 2020, sources said, which would make retaining McDaniels even more paramount as there is no set replacement on staff and Brady has been in one offense his entire career.
"At the same time, Belichick was advocating for Judge for the Giants job, knowing that they couldn't hire both him and McDaniels. The Browns, Giants, and Panthers all requested interviews with McDaniels at the conclusion of the regular season. Belichick would not allow McDaniels to meet the Panthers on Monday, the same day Judge was interviewing with the Giants; Baylor coach Matt Rhule met with the Panthers on Tuesday and was hired by Wednesday."
La Canfora continued on by saying that McDaniels could have been hired by Panthers owner David Tepper had their interview taken place earlier in the week, but because it wasn't and Carolina did not want to lose out on Rhule, they proceeded to hire Rhule.
"The Panthers were extremely high on McDaniels, sources said, and had his interview been before Rhule's it is quite possible owner David Tepper would have acted to quickly hire him as well. That was not the case – McDaniels and Rhule are both represented by Athlete's First – and Rhule was hired by Tuesday with the Giants not wanting to risk losing Judge to Mississippi State or McDaniels to go elsewhere, they hired Judge within hours of the Panthers landing Rhule, whom New York sought to interview on Tuesday."
Genius Belichick at it again. New England's head coach knew, if this report is to be believed as fact, the longer he forced McDaniels to hold off on his head-coaching interviews, the less chance he had of getting one of those jobs. Because McDaniels' interview with Cleveland was on Friday, Belichick could do nothing to prevent that meeting from proceeding.
With Brady's potential departure from New England looming, Belichick knows if he wants any chance of retaining Brady he needs to keep McDaniels on his staff. McDaniels and Brady have grown very close over the years, and one would think Brady would not want to have to deal with a new Patriots offensive coordinator in 2020.
This weekend, we are expected to hear if McDaniels will become the head coach of the Browns. If he does, then Belichick's efforts earlier in the week will have been done in vein. But if McDaniels doesn't get the job, Belichick will have put his team one step closer to keeping their 42-year-old QB.