If the New England Patriots part ways with head coach Bill Belichick in the offseason, will they replace him with a familiar face?
Jerod Mayo played eight seasons with the Patriots and has been a defensive coach on Belichick's staff since 2019. He's a logical candidate for the job.
Another potential option is Mike Vrabel -- a former Patriots linebacker who won three Super Bowl titles with New England and was inducted into the team's Hall of Fame last month.
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Getting Vrabel back to Foxboro won't be easy, though. He's under contract next season with the Tennessee Titans, which means the Patriots would have to acquire him via trade, assuming the Titans don't fire him.
What should the Patriots be willing to give up if a trade for Vrabel is what they want to pursue?
Randy Mueller, who was a GM for the New Orleans Saints and Miami Dolphins in the 2000s, gave his take in a recent article for The Athletic.
"If I were Kraft, I’d reach out owner to owner and offer a 2024 second-round pick, as it will be a high one," Mueller wrote." I would not touch a pick in the top 10 because I’m not willing to give up the farm, and if I were the Titans I might counter to acquire an additional pick in a subsequent year.
"This can only happen if Vrabel is serious about moving on as well. And there might be another team that would offer more for a coach of Vrabel’s status, though the league might fight the idea of a draft pick bidding war for a coach."
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Giving up a top five or top 10 pick makes zero sense, but a second-rounder is definitely more palatable.
Unlike many of the coaches who leave Belichick's staff to become a head coach, Vrabel has enjoyed plenty of success with the Titans.
He led the Titans to a winning record in each of his first four seasons in charge, including three playoff appearances (two wins) during that span. However, the Titans were 7-10 last season and have a 3-6 record entering Week 11. In Vrabel's defense, quarterback injuries have plagued Tennessee quite a bit since the start of last season.
Given the Patriots' struggles offensively over the last two seasons, it might make more sense to replace Belichick with a more offensive-minded coach. Vrabel is stronger on the defensive side, given his long career as a linebacker.
But Vrabel already has proven he's an effective head coach, and his familiarity with the Patriots' culture, media and ownership makes him a safe option.