Following the firing of head coach Hue Jackson earlier in the week, the Cleveland Browns found themselves linked to Oklahoma head football coach Lincoln Riley.
It’s a natural link. Riley coached rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield to a Heisman trophy with the Sooners last season and has a great relationship with the face of the Browns’ franchise. He’s also seen as an up-and-coming young coach.
It now appears that other NFL teams might throw their hats into the Riley ring should he decide to depart college ball for the pros.
Speaking with Dan Patrick, Peter King of NBC Sports noted that there could be multiple NFL teams show interest in Riley following the 2018 season.
Lincoln Riley appars to me to be a guy who is going to get some interest after this season, and maybe not just from Cleveland,” King noted.
The broader discussion here was interesting in that the two focused on Mike McCarthy’s future with the Green Bay Packers. There’s seemingly a split between McCarthy and future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Should Green Bay miss out on the playoffs this season, it’s reasonable to believe the team will move on from McCarthy altogether. If so, McCarthy’s relationship with Browns general manager John Dorsey could make him a logical choice for Cleveland.
As it relates to Riley, King also noted that Dorsey has spent a lot of time in Norman scouting Sooners players. Obviously, that included Mayfield last season.
Based on how the first half of the 2018 NFL season went, there’s a good chance about one-quarter of teams will be looking for a new head coach come January. It’s in this that the Browns will have competition for Riley. The Dallas Cowboys come to mind first.
Riley himself indicated after Jackson’s firing that he’s happy with where he’s at in Oklahoma. Whether that changes following this season remains to be seen. But he’s going to be a hot commodity. That’s for sure.