CLEVELAND — Shortly after the Tennessee Titans beat the New England Patriots in the AFC Wild Card round on Saturday night, I tweeted out a blatantly photoshopped picture of Tom Brady in a Cleveland Browns uniform.
Obviously, I was joking, as there's no way Brady -- who can be a free agent this offseason -- would leave New England to come to Cleveland. Nor would Cleveland likely give up on Baker Mayfield in order to sign a 43-year-old quarterback, regardless of how many Super Bowls he's won.
So imagine my surprise when SportsBetting.ag released its odds for Brady's most likely landing spots should he leave the Patriots. At 11-2 (+550) odds, the Browns topped the list, leading the Carolina Panthers (6-1), Los Angeles Chargers (6-1), Las Vegas Raiders (6-1) and Dallas Cowboys (7-1).
While 11-2 odds hardly qualify as buzz that something's adrift, it still seemed strange that the Browns, who don't need a quarterback, would have the best odds to land a high profile signal-caller who will presumably be picky about where he plays. So I reached out to SportsBetting.ag about the odds in order to receive some clarification on why it made the Browns the betting favorite to land Brady should he leave.
"The Browns were initially installed as the favorites because we do believe Josh McDaniels will take a head coaching position this offseason, and the stars align well for him to head back to Ohio where he was born and raised," the site's lines manager, Robert Cooper, told 3News. "And what would make for a better story than McDaniels and Brady heading to the organization where Bill Belichick cut his teeth as a head coach? All the pieces of the puzzle are there for them offensively, and the defense isn't too shabby either. They would immediately become legit contenders next season."
While the Browns could very well hire McDaniels -- who has served as Brady's quarterbacks coach/offensive coordinator in New England for 13 seasons -- it still seems far fetched that hiring the Barberton native would be enough to bring the 6-time Super Bowl champion signal-caller to Cleveland. What's more is that McDaniels is reportedly such a big fan of Mayfield's that the 2017 Heisman Trophy winner thought the Patriots might trade up to take him in the 2018 NFL Draft.
For what it's worth, as of Monday afternoon, the Chargers (4-1), Panthers (6-1) and Raiders (6-1) have all passed the Browns, whose odds of landing Brady now sit at 7-1, per the site. And while Cooper said that change in odds reflects the action the site has received, it's worth noting that at -175 (bet $175 to win $100), the most likely outcome is that Brady returns to New England for a 21st season in 2020.