It’s hard to take Bruce Arians at his word that the Cleveland Browns are the only team he’d come out of retirement to coach next year.
But it’s still telling that when asked this week if he’s interested in coaching the Green Bay Packers, he said no.
“Not at all," Arians told CBS Sports Radio. “If I ever return to coaching it will only be in Cleveland.”
The fact is, the Packers, who have grown used to being considered one of the NFL’s gems, aren’t the league’s most attractive head-coach opening this offseason. As Arians suggested, that honor already belongs to the Browns.
While the Packers have a lot going to attract a new coach — their history, a sustained winning culture and an abundance of resources — the Browns have more.
It starts with personnel, where it looks like Cleveland has a keeper in rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield plus budding young stars at the two most important positions on defense (end Garrett Myles and cornerback Denzel Ward). The Packers have a star quarterback who’s suddenly blemished and a defense short on talent.
The Browns are also swimming in salary-cap room to sign free agents and extend contracts. According to Spotrac, they have a league-high $54 million in cap space, which they can carry over to next year, and will have another $81 million in cap room next year.
The Packers are in decent cap shape but can’t compete with the Browns: $5.3 million in cap room this year, and $40.6 million in 2019.