The Cleveland Browns have yet to officially announce Freddie Kitchens as their new head coach.
But that hasn't stopped rumors from swirling regarding which coaches will make up his staff. And according to one report, the first-year head coach could soon be joined by one of football's most experienced assistants.
According to Kent Somers of The Arizona Republic, Chuck Pagano is currently the front-runner to join new Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury's staff as the team's defensive coordinator. But per Somers, the Cardinals could face stiff competition in signing Pagano, with the Browns "very interested" in adding the former Indianapolis Colts head coach to Kitchens' staff.
Signing a defensive coordinator as experienced as the 58-year-old Pagano would make sense for Cleveland, as Kitchens enters his first season as a head coach. From 2012-17, Pagano amassed a 53-43 record as the head coach of the Colts, his latest stop on a coaching resume that dates back to 1984.
Prior to his six-season stint in Indianapolis, Pagano served as the defensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens. He's also no stranger to Cleveland, where he worked as the Browns' secondary coach under Butch Davis from 2001-04.
One potential hiccup in hiring Pagano could be his history of running 3-4 defenses. But while Cleveland is currently set up with 4-3 personnel, the rise of multiple front defenses across the NFL could ultimately make him a more attractive candidate.
Although the Browns have yet to officially announce Kitchens' hiring, multiple reports on Wednesday indicated that the former interim offensive coordinator had been promoted to head coach. Those reports were seemingly confirmed when former interim head coach Gregg Williams issued a statement thanking the organization, city and its fans.
With Williams having been let go, the Browns find themselves in need of a new defensive coordinator. And if they can beat out the Cardinals for Pagano, that replacement could ultimately be a familiar face.