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NFL insider suggests New England Patriots, Bill Belichick could face ‘crossroads’ in 2024

Matt Johnson
Bill Belichick, New England Patriots
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick is heading into the 2022 NFL season facing plenty of questions about the roster and coaching staff he assembled. Depending on how things unfold, Belichick could face a debate about his future in the NFL.

The 70-year-old head coach will go down as one of the best coaches ever in professional sports. A six-time Super Bowl champion, the future Hall of Famer will likely have plenty of say on his exit strategy. New England would seemingly want its legendary coach to retire on his own terms, but that plan has become more complicated in recent years.

  • Bill Belichick career record: 290-143 in the regular season

In the first year without Tom Brady, the Patriots finished with a 7-9 record. However, the franchise returned to the NFL Playoffs last season thanks to the emergence of quarterback Mac Jones and an outstanding defense. But many NFL predictions have New England taking a step back. Because of curious coaching hires and bad draft classes, it’s resulted in speculation about Belichick’s job security.

Related: Bill Belichick takes ‘responsibility’ for what happens to New England Patriots offense

Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated addressed Belickick’s future in his latest NFL mailbag. While he is confident that Belichick will be allowed to return in 2023, regardless of what happens this fall, New England could be at a crossroads with its coach a year later.

“if there is a crossroads coming for Belichick, I’d say it’s more likely in early 2024, after the ’23 season. At that point, there’ll be four post-Brady years to evaluate. You’ll presumably have had two offseasons (’21 and ’23) to spend big in free agency. You’ll have a decision to make on Jones’s fifth-year option, and potentially more than that, since he’ll be eligible, for the first time, for an extension.”

Albert Breer on Bill Belichick’s future with New England Patriots

Related: NFL insider details potential process for Bill Belichick’s retirement

It’s fair to wonder if owner Robert Kraft will need to make a change at some point. New England’s track record with its draft classes in recent years is largely responsible for the issues its going through right now. Belichick made those decisions and there is a cost for all those draft whiffs.

The coaching staff is the bigger concern this season. After losing offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels to the Las Vegas Raiders, the Patriots needed to replace one of the best play-callers in the NFL. Instead of hiring an experienced coordinator, Belichick brought back Joe Judge and is having him split duties with long-time defensive coach Matt Patricia.

Kraft and the fan base will happily give Belichick another year before considering the unthinkable. However, the franchise owner made it clear that the recent playoff failures are unacceptable. If New England doesn’t reach the postseason this time around, patience will start running out.

The best coach in NFL history has certainly earned the benefit of the doubt and some decisions that many found dumbfounding at the time were later proven accurate. Ultimately, Belichick’s selection of players and coaches this time around will likely decide how much longer he coaches the Patriots.