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Could Browns trade Hue Jackson to Bengals?

Marin Lewis is reportedly leaving the Bengals at the end of the season and could move into a front office role with his next franchise.

The Browns have been sending out mixed signals regarding whether they want to keep coach Hue Jackson. With Marvin Lewis reportedly out in Cincinnati (although he denies that he’s leaving), a theory/hypothesis is emerging in some league circles.

What if the Browns try to trade Jackson to the Bengals?

Trades for head coaches remain permissible, although they don’t happen in the same way that player trades occur. First, the teams involved strike a deal regarding compensation in the event a contract can be negotiated between the new team and the coach. Second, the new team tries to work out a contract with the coach.

Browns owner Jimmy Haslam has twice said publicly that he wants Jackson to return in 2018. One league source told PFT that Haslam is saying the same thing privately. But new G.M. John Dorsey recently evaded during a radio interview a direct question about whether Jackson will be back.

So maybe the Browns are being inconsistent as a message of sorts to a team that would be inclined to add to Cleveland’s current draft haul in order to get Jackson. And if Lewis, who is on the record as being willing to consider taking a role somewhere in personnel, decides to become the G.M. or something like it in Cincinnati (and if Cincinnati wants him in that role), the Bengals could make Hue the coach and move forward with both guys working together.

This isn’t a report that something like that will happen. But it’s definitely something to keep an eye on as the coaching carousel prepares to hit full speed. And as the Browns speed toward 0-16.