New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick is one of a kind. He’s been an NFL head coach for 28 seasons, with the past 23 spent in New England. He’s done it all, from winning a total of six Super Bowl trophies in his lifetime, and he’s also developed quite the reputation.
For the most part, Belichick can be described as a man who will stop at nothing to compete for another Super Bowl. Winning is all he cares about.
Yet, there are also times when the NFL community can’t help but wonder or question what the heck is going on inside the mind of the football genius. Releasing or trading an impact player for pennies? Belichick’s done it. Time and time again.
But no matter how many times we find ourselves scratching our heads over Belichick’s decisions, for the most part, the Patriots coach gets incredible results. Who are we to question one of the best coaches in NFL history?
Most recently, on the first day of the 2023 NFL Draft, Belichick pulled off another big trade, although this one was involving draft picks instead of established players.
The Patriots were headed into the draft with the 14th overall pick, which, after the Aaron Rodgers trade, meant they were one slot ahead of their fellow AFC East rival New York Jets, who Belichick even did a very brief stint with.
Belichick, who always seems to have a strong pulse on the rest of the league, perhaps realized the Jets’ desire to draft an offensive lineman and decided to find a trade that allowed the Pittsburgh Steelers, who also had a massive need in the trenches, to jump up ahead of the Jets.
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The trade sent the 17th pick and No. 120 overall to the Patriots, with the 14th pick headed back to Pittsburgh. But more importantly, the Steelers selected Georgia left tackle Broderick Jones at No. 14 when the Jets may have been eyeing him at No. 15 instead.
According to Jason La Canfora of The Washington Post, some “rival executives” felt Belichick swung this trade out of spite to diminish the Jets’ chances of landing the player they may have wanted. In fact, some have even suggested the Patriots knowingly took less value in the trade than what they should have received for moving down three spots in the middle of the first round.
The Patriots received an extra fourth-round pick when some believe they should have been able to receive a third-round pick in exchange instead. One NFL GM even said Belichick did this trade “just to f— the Jets. He sold low because he knew the Steelers were going to take the kid the Jets wanted to take.”
Another team executive agreed, noting Belichick will “try to screw them (Jets) over any chance he gets.” Meanwhile, the idea that the Jets prioritized improving their offensive line holds weight, as they selected linemen with their next two picks.
So, who knows, maybe this draft day trade was the latest example of Belichick taking a bit less value, knowing it still helps his team in the long run by foiling the plans of a division rival.
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