McDaniels, who is from Ohio, was mentioned by many as a possible candidate shortly after the Browns fired Rob Chudzinki on Sunday. McDaniels does bring NFL head coaching experience, although he went just 11-17 in two seasons with Denver. Most of his success has come as an assistant with New England, where he's served two separate stints as offensive coordinator.
With New England in the playoffs, there are some restrictions in setting up an interview. The Patriots have a first-round bye, which means McDaniel can interview before assistant coaches on teams playing in the wild card round. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the earliest the Browns could interview McDaniels is Jan. 5.
If McDaniels landed in Cleveland, it wouldn't be the first time the Browns have tapped into the Bill Belichick coaching tree. Belichick spent five seasons as the head coach in Cleveland from 1991-1995. Cleveland also hired former Patriots defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel in 2005. He was fired following the 2008 season.
Browns CEO Joe Banner ruled out hiring a candidate who interviewed last season, meaning Ray Horton, Bill O'Brien, Mike Zimmer and Ken Whisenhunt will not be candidates this year.