The Cleveland Browns are no strangers to the head coach carousel, but moving on from Kevin Stefanski would be one of their most surprising decisions in a long time. Stefanski has the Browns in the playoff race despite season-ending injuries to both Deshaun Watson and Nick Chubb, arguably the team's two most important players offensively. Not to mention, they have won seven out of their first 12 games without starting right tackle Jack Conklin, one of the best at his position in the NFL.
By most accounts, the coaching job being done by Kevin Stefanski in Cleveland right now is tremendous, but you never know when NFL teams are going to decide that it's time to move on and it's time for an upgrade. It wouldn't be the first time an NFL team has said one thing and done another.
If the Browns' ownership is disappointed with the way things are heading, they could choose to move on from Stefanski after the season and enter a head coaching free agency that is expected to be loaded with teams. But who would replace him?
1. Ben Johnson, Lions Offensive Coordinator
When you talk about who could be the hottest name on the head coaching market in 2024, I think Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson has to be near the very top of the list. And Johnson would be appealing to the Cleveland Browns for a number of reasons.
First of all, he's shown that he can call a great offense with balance, creativity, great sequencing, and he can call an offense that highlights the strengths of his players while minimizing their weaknesses. We've also seen what Johnson can do in terms of the resurgence of quarterback Jared Goff. I think having Johnson come in and design a program for Deshaun Watson could help the Cleveland Browns really maximize that investment, and perhaps that is an upgrade they would consider.
Though Johnson will almost undoubtedly have his pick of teams, and it would be a risk for the Browns to fire Kevin Stefanski with Johnson as their preferred target. To move on from Stefanski, you need to make sure you upgrade even if it's only on paper.