The NFL coaching carousel is spinning, and it has pointed toward the Ravens' staff.
The Cleveland Browns have requested permission to speak with Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman, and Baltimore has granted it, per Head Coach John Harbaugh. Harbaugh said that's the only request he's been made aware of so far.
"Cleveland has put in the request. We've honored it, which we will do with all of our guys for head coaching opportunities," Harbaugh said.
Cleveland fired Freddie Kitchens on Sunday after a disappointing 6-10 campaign during his one season as head coach. In a statement, Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam said they're focused on "hiring an exceptional leader."
In Roman's first season as Baltimore's offensive coordinator, the Ravens emerged as the NFL's highest-scoring team, set the league record for team rushing yards, and became the first team ever to average at least 200 yards rushing and 200 yards passing. He helped groom quarterback Lamar Jackson into the likely MVP in his second season.
The Browns have talented offensive players already in place including wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, running back Nick Chubb, and quarterback Baker Mayfield.
Roman isn't the only candidate being linked to the Browns job. Other names to watch reportedly include New England Patriots Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels, Vikings Offensive Coordinator Kevin Stefanski and Saints Defensive Coordinator Dennis Allen, according Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.
Former Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer and former Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy are also names to watch for in connection with the Browns vacancy, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network.
Upon seeing the reports, Ravens players both supported Roman and expressed their desire that he stay in Baltimore.
Harbaugh was asked Monday if he would replace Roman with someone within the organization or outside if Roman were to leave.
"I think we'll cross that bridge when we get there," Harbaugh said.
Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale has also emerged as a top potential head coaching candidate around the league, according to Rapoport.
Rapoport did not link Martindale to a team, but he reported that Martindale would want Joe Brady to come along as his offensive coordinator. Brady is LSU's 30-year-old passing game coordinator/wide receivers coach, who has been praised for his role in the Tigers' high-scoring offense and his influence on Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Joe Burrow.
Last week, Martindale said it would take a "dream-type" job for him to leave Baltimore.
Baltimore's defense has given up the fewest point in the NFL since Week 6 and finished the regular season ranked No. 5 overall after being ranked No. 1 in 2018. Martindale has smoothly integrated players acquired during the season into his defensive scheme such as linebackers Josh Bynes and L.J. Fort, Pro Bowl cornerback Marcus Peters, and defensive linemen Domata Peko and Jihad Ward.
Harbaugh has said repeatedly that he will support any coach on staff who pursues a head coaching opportunity. With the Ravens having a bye this week before their Jan. 11 divisional playoff game, interested teams would be allowed to interview Roman and Martindale this week. Harbaugh said he's also heard rumors about teams being possibly interested in Assistant Head Coach/Pass Coordinator/Wide Receivers David Culley.
However, Harbaugh said interviews this week with his coordinators will not be a burden as the Ravens prepare for the playoffs. By rule, teams that want to interview coaches who have a bye this week have to travel to them.
"It's business as usual," Harbaugh said. "I don't think nowadays that guys spend too much time putting together notebooks and preparing for interviews and all that. That's who you are. You walk in there and you try to get to know each other and that doesn't take too long. They'll be able to focus 100 percent on preparation and also take a sliver of time to go do that, whatever is requested of them."