If the New England Patriots' 2023 season continues in this fashion, there's an actual possibility that Bill Belichick doesn't return to the team in 2024.
It may not mean he's done coaching, however, which begs the question: Where could Belichick end up if he and the Patriots part ways?
The Boston Sports Journal's Mike Giardi joined Michael Holley and Michael Felger on NBC Sports Boston's Boston Sports Tonight on Wednesday to share a few teams that could make sense for Belichick to take over as head coach.
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You can check out the full discussion in the video above, but here's a quick rundown of the three teams mentioned:
Chicago's current head coach, Matt Eberflus, could be on the hot seat this offseason as his team stumbles to another losing record. Giardi acknowledged the football fit may not be seamless, as Belichick would be working with another 2021 first-round quarterback in Justin Fields after mismanaging Mac Jones' first three NFL seasons.
"It's been a disaster (in Chicago)," Giardi noted. "... They haven't had the touch with quarterbacks either, so I'm not sure they're necessarily going to want to go to Belichick with his touch around quarterbacks most recently."
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Still, the Chicago's rich football history likely would appeal to Belichick; he's spoken glowingly of legendary Bears head coach George Halas, who was a friend of his father, Stephen Belichick. Belichick also has a tangential connection to Bears general manager Ryan Poles: Poles got his NFL start in 2009 as a scouting assistant for then-Kansas City Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli, who spent nine years in New England as Belichick's director of player personnel.
Giardi is more bullish on the Commanders as a fit for Belichick. Washington has a deep-pocketed owner in Josh Harris, a young roster with upside and a location that's convenient for the Annapolis, Md., native.
"The other one that makes a lot of sense to me is the Washington Commanders," Giardi said. "Brand-new owner, spent ($6.05) billion on the football team. He's got (head coach) 'Riverboat' Ron Rivera, who's not a riverboat gambler at all. That team is very bland. There's some great pieces on defense. The offense, Sam Howell is a young quarterback, Eric Bieniemy is there as the offensive coordinator.
"That makes a lot of sense to me, not just for the name -- that franchise obviously once was a great franchise and is looking to rebuild -- but also because it's on the East Coast. That's kind of an easy flight, Washington up to Boston, over to Nantucket, everything's great."
Los Angeles Chargers
Holley is intrigued by Belichick taking over in Los Angeles, which never lacks in talent but always seems to fall short of expectations.
"(Head coach) Brandon Staley was once again giving away points (in the Chargers' Week 6 loss to the Cowboys)," Holley said. "They've got a lot of talent. You feel like they never realize their talent. They had a huge lead in their playoff game last year against Jacksonville. They blew that.
"They just don't get it together. It seems like a coach like Bill Belichick in Los Angeles would bring that franchise a lot of credibility."
If Belichick wants to make a serious run at Don Shula's all-time coaching wins record -- he currently trails Shula by 17 -- then hitching his wagon to Justin Herbert might be his best bet.
Belichick's reputation has taken a bit of a hit over the past few years, as his Patriots are 26-29 with an 0-1 postseason record since Tom Brady's departure in 2020. But he's still considered one of the greatest head coaches of all time, and there should be plenty of times interested in his services if he and the Patriots decide to part ways.