Patriots news: It’s been a disappointing season for the New England Patriots and Bill Belichick. With a trip to the NFL Playoffs unlikely and the team in a transition period, could Belichick consider a move to a new NFL team?
As the Patriots sat near the bottom of the AFC, some NFL fans started to wonder if Belichick’s days in New England could be nearing an end. While owner Robert Kraft would never fire the greatest coach in NFL history, NBC Sports’ Peter King even acknowledged a trade could be a possibility.
While it’s incredibly rare to see coaches traded in the NFL, it isn’t unprecedented. For nearly every NFL team, the chance to add Belichick could be the difference between playoff contention and hoisting the Lombardi Trophy.
Patriots news: How much longer will Bill Belichick coach in the NFL?
Despite the wild speculation, don’t expect Belichick to be working anywhere but New England. Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, who used to cover the Patriots, shared this week that he expects this to be Belichick’s last coaching job.
Everything changed for the Patriots and the NFL on Jan. 27, 2000, when the New York Jets traded Belichick to the Patriots. Even two decades later, he is still reminding the Jets about that fateful day.
Belichick was given control over the roster and football operations almost immediately. After a five-win season in 2000, when he started installing his culture, the Patriots went on the greatest run in NFL history.
Across 21 years in New England, the Patriots boast a 240-88 record in the regular season, with an unfathomable .732 mark over that span. Along the way, Belichick won six Super Bowls, three Coach of the Year awards and the Patriots missed the playoffs three times (2000,’ 02, ’08) over that stretch.
New England knew this season would fall short of its usual standard. The organization let Tom Brady walk, lost multiple starters to COVID-19 opt-outs before Week 1 and this offense lacks any playmakers at receiver, running back and tight end.
Unsurprisingly, it’s led to a 3-5 record and the Patriots are in real danger of missing the playoffs for the first time since 2008. New England will also have major questions at quarterback this offseason, with Cam Newton set to hit free agency and Jarrett Stidham failing to impress. Big changes could also be looming on the defensive side in an offseason that could be filled with Patriots news.
Patriots news: Offseason outlook and Bill Belichick’s future
New England will enter the offseason with a stockade of picks in the 2021 NFL Draft. In addition to their original picks, the Patriots are projected to receive a third-round compensatory pick for Tom Brady and fourth-round picks after Kyle Van Noy and Jamie Collins’ departures.
Armed with plenty of picks and more than $40 million in cap space, Belichick can overhaul this team in a few months. With more talent on offense and key starters returning on the defensive side, he could once again have a dominant team.
No one expected a year ago that Brady would leave the Patriots, but surprises can happen. While being traded to a team that is already loaded with talent might be appealing, it remains likely that Belichick sticks it out in New England.
Breer anticipates Belichick will stick around as a coach for a few more years. After that, we could see him focus on operating exclusively as a top executive in a front office.