Phil Perry

Belichick, Kraft choose to put Patriots first with press conference

It appears both head coach and owner are prioritizing what's best for the team.

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FOXBORO — There’s what’s best for the roster. And there’s what’s best for team. By not embarking on a prolonged search for trade compensation for Bill Belichick, Robert Kraft is eschewing the former to execute the latter. 

Team sources have indicated to NBC Sports Boston that the Patriots are moving on from Belichick, who made it clear earlier this week that he was under contract for 2024. 

But when the organization announces the news of the separation on Thursday, it won’t come via press release. It will come at a press conference featuring both Kraft and Belichick.

That speaks volumes. It means both parties have, to some degree, gone to lengths to preserve their relationship. This has not been an explosive, furniture-tipping breakup. And that matters. 

Both sides should want to maintain — to the best of their ability — what they can in terms interacting cordially going forward. There’s too much to celebrate. Too many team Hall of Fame and Pro Football Hall of Fame celebrations to come. Maybe statue unveilings. Etcetera. Etcetera. Burning that bridge, for either side, but in particular for ownership, does not benefit the franchise or the fan base.

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Pursuing an extensive search for trade compensation, shopping the greatest coach of all time, might’ve burned that bridge.

When a source who knows the Krafts and Belichick was asked whether or not the coach would ever agree to be dealt, he said, “No. [He] will be spiteful.”

The Krafts could’ve looked for a deal anyway. They need all the help they can find for their roster. They can use all the draft capital they can collect. And Belichick is an asset who looks like he will have a market for his services now that he’s available. 

But that might’ve taken time. And if other teams jump-started their searches, maybe falling for candidates not named Belichick, then perhaps that would’ve limited Belichick’s opportunities to find the best job for him (and staffers he’d like to take with him to his next locale). 

That might’ve been what was best for the on-field product, but not for the organization. That likely would’ve been taken as a severe disservice to a coach who has worked tirelessly for the franchise for a generation. That almost certainly would’ve led to an ugly break. 

It shouldn’t have ended that way. And it won’t. 

For years, Belichick has answered countless questions by vowing at podiums to do “what’s best for the team.” As he and Kraft hold a joint press conference with Belichick on his way out, it seems as though both parties are continuing to holding firm to that mantra. 

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