New England Patriots

Florio floats intriguing theory about Belichick trade to Commanders

Would a deal between New England and Washington make sense for both sides?

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Could Bill Belichick wind up coaching for the team he'll face this Sunday at Gillette Stadium?

The idea of Belichick leaving New England is getting less blasphemous by the day as his Patriots enter Week 8 dead last in the AFC at 2-6. If the Patriots miss the playoffs for the third time in the four seasons since Tom Brady's departure, it's possible that team owner Robert Kraft makes the difficult decision to move on from the legendary head coach, despite the new contract he reportedly signed with New England earlier in the year.

But if Belichick and the Patriots do part ways after this season, where might he end up -- and how might he get there? Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio relayed one eye-opening possibility he heard during Wednesday's episode of PFT Live with co-host Myles Simmons: a Patriots trade of Belichick to the Washington Commanders.

"What I heard over the weekend from someone I know, someone I trust, that made me say, 'Whoa, that's interesting,' is the possibility that the end result for the Commanders is a trade with the Patriots for Bill Belichick," Florio said.

When NFL Network's Ian Rapoport noted on Oct. 22 that Belichick had signed a "lucrative, multi-year new contract" with the Patriots last offseason, many assumed that report emanated from Belichick's camp as a way to remind those both inside and outside the building that he's not going anywhere despite the team's poor record.

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But Florio believes it's possible the leak came from the Patriots' side. From Florio:

"The other explanation for it is, it's the Patriots getting out the idea, as owners throughout the league begin the process of figuring out who they want to hire next year, it's a reminder: 'You're not just going to be able to go hire Bill Belichick. If you want him, you've got to deal with us. We have his contractual rights for multiple years. We're not going to fire him. We're going to wait for somebody to call us up and offer something for him. We're going to get back what we gave the Jets to get him. We're going to get value for this asset, even if we're done with it.'"

Kraft famously acquired Belichick from the Jets in a trade back in 2000, sending New England's first-round pick in 2000 and its fourth- and seventh-round picks in 2001 to New York in return for Belichick, the Jets' fifth-rounder in 2001 and their seventh-rounder in 2002.

Belichick is presumably under contract through the 2024 season, so if the Krafts want to part ways with him after this season, it makes sense for them to explore a trade involving the longtime head coach, rather than firing Belichick and receiving no compensation in return.

Why might Washington make sense? Ron Rivera has the worst record since 2020 among NFL head coaches who were hired before or during that season (Belichick is second-worst) and very likely could be fired after the Commanders sold off Chase Young and Montez Sweat at the NFL trade deadline. Washington is a historic franchise that may appeal to Belichick, and new team owner Josh Harris could be willing to clean house and give Belichick both head coach and personnel duties -- which would allow Belichick to bring in an old friend as offensive coordinator.

"Josh McDaniels is available again (after being fired by the Las Vegas Raiders)," Florio noted. "All the more reason (for Washington) to go get Bill, because you can bring Josh McDaniels in as the offensive coordinator -- because nobody's going to hire him as a head coach next year. The band's back together, we're off to Washington, and here we go with Belichick and McDaniels."

The Patriots host the Commanders this Sunday at 1 p.m. ET, and Florio's theory adds a layer of intrigue to an otherwise uninspiring matchup.

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