New England Patriots

Report adds intrigue to Belichick's coaching market outside Falcons

Belichick could have other suitors waiting in the wings.

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Is there a mystery team waiting in the wings to hire Bill Belichick?

The Atlanta Falcons are the only team that has interviewed the former New England Patriots head coach since he hit the open market on Jan. 11. But Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio reports that Atlanta isn't the only team keeping a watchful eye on Belichick.

"Multiple" NFL teams are "quietly considering a potential run" at the 71-year-old coaching legend, Florio wrote Sunday, adding that at least one of those teams has a head-coaching vacancy -- and at least one does not.

So, who are these unnamed clubs with potential interest in Belichick?

Five teams outside the Falcons currently have head coach openings: the Carolina Panthers, Los Angeles Chargers, Washington Commanders, Tennessee Titans and Seattle Seahawks. Based on recent reports, Belichick is believed to be "done" with "big-market media" and seemingly prefers to coach a "talented, yet underachieving (team)." If he also doesn't want to coach on the West Coast, as some have speculated, that leaves the Panthers, Commanders and Titans as possible options.

As for which team could replace its current head coach with Belichick, the Buffalo Bills might be a team to watch after losing in the AFC Divisional Round for the third straight season. While Sean McDermott has been Buffalo's head coach since 2017, ownership could decide it's time for a shake-up by replacing him with one of the greatest coaches of all time.

Former Bills head coach Rex Ryan even sees Buffalo as a potential landing spot for Belichick, which would set up the fascinating subplot of Belichick facing his former team twice per year in the AFC East.

"This might be the spot where Bill Belichick goes,” Ryan said Monday morning on 98.7 ESPN New York’s DiPietro & Rothenberg Show. “I’m just saying, if ownership thinks (Sean McDermott has) taken this team as far as (he) can, which I’m not saying that they should do it, but this could do it.

"Who could take us to the next level? Well, Bill Belichick. And I’m not saying that it’s definitely gonna happen, but I would not be shocked.”

Per Florio, Belichick is viewed as the "front-runner" to land the Atlanta job after conducting two in-person interviews with the club. But the Falcons have interviewed several other candidates as well -- including Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh -- and Belichick's market expanding could add an interesting dynamic to Atlanta's decision.

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