John Fox to Cleveland? 

January, 6, 2010
According to sources, odds still favor Browns team president Mike Holmgren firing head coach Eric Mangini, but some interesting possibilities are developing behind the scenes. How about Holmgren having Tom Heckert as his GM and Carolina's John Fox as his coach? Heckert interviewed Wednesday, so the possibility exists for the Eagles' general manager to join the Browns. Don't discount Fox, who enters the final year of his contract in 2010 with a $6 million salary. Holmgren, Fox and Heckert have the same agent, Bob LaMonte. LaMonte knows Cleveland owner Randy Lerner is willing to spend. Holmgren can call Carolina and ask permission to talk to Fox, knowing that the Panthers would have an unhappy head coach if he is not given the chance to get a long-term, $7 million a year contract from the Browns.

If the Browns go after Fox, it will be interesting to see if the Panthers can grab draft-choice compensation. The Browns have 11 draft choices, and there are plenty of examples of top coaches moving to new franchises with draft-choice compensation. Panthers owner Jerry Richardson would have to decide whether to keep Fox for a year and have him unhappy, try to get some draft choices for him or let him go and take the $6 million off the books.

Bates to Bears: USC offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates has a great chance of getting the Bears' offensive coordinator job because of his good relationship with Bears quarterback Jay Cutler from their days in Denver.

Shanahan and Bengals: New Redskins coach Mike Shanahan could hurt the Bengals in 2010 if he can get defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer and offensive line coach Paul Alexander. Zimmer has been one of the best assistants in the league for what he has done the past two years turning around the Bengals' defense. Alexander is in the last year of his contract and could be a candidate for the offensive line job, according to a source.