Arbella Early Edition

Curran: Expect Patriots to stick with their decision on Belichick

The Patriots appear on the verge of making a franchise-altering decision.

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Despite Bill Belichick's "business as usual" approach in Foxboro, it appears his 24-year tenure as New England Patriots head coach is still on track to end in the near future.

Belichick reportedly met with team owner Robert Kraft on Monday and was expected to meet with ownership again this week as the team charts its future after going 4-13 and missing the playoffs for the third time in four years since Tom Brady's 2020 departure.

Our Tom E. Curran reported in mid-December that after the Patriots' 10-6 loss to the Indianapolis Colts in Germany, ownership decided it would part ways with Belichick after the season. Speaking Tuesday on NBC Sports Boston's Arbella Early Edition, Curran offered an update into the Krafts' mindset in light of Belichick's end-of-season press conference Monday morning and the Tennessee Titans' firing of head coach Mike Vrabel on Tuesday.

"I think they're very methodical in the way they do things, and the fact that Mike Vrabel has kind of cannonballed into the coaching pool here, I don't know if that would necessarily cause them to alter the course of what they're planning to do," Curran said of Patriots ownership.

"So, to me, we reported a month ago that a decision had been made and the Patriots would be parting ways with Bill Belichick. That remains what I believe will happen this week (or) in the near future at least. And I believe that they will stay on the course with Jerod Mayo as the next head coach."

The Krafts have made their support of Mayo very clear: Robert Kraft cited the Patriots linebackers coach as a "strong candidate to be the heir apparent" to Belichick in March 2023, two months after publicly announcing plans to offer Mayo a contract extension.

Vrabel obviously could throw a wrench in the Krafts' succession plan; he has a wealth of experience as both a player (three-time Super Bowl champion with the Patriots from 2001 to 2008) and a head coach (2022 NFL Coach of the Year with the Titans) and is highly regarded in New England. But Mayo flashed some strong communication skills last week in response to a report that he rubbed people within the Patriots organization "the wrong way," and if the team still believes in his coaching potential, it makes sense to stick with him instead of risking him joining another club if Vrabel becomes head coach.

In any case, Curran believes we won't see Belichick on the Patriots' sidelines, and that his incredible run in New England is about to end.

"Ownership's decision was made weeks ago," Curran added Tuesday on NBC Sports Boston's Quick Slants. " ... The decision is the decision, the parting of the ways will happen. The irony in this, of course, is we all know what Bill would do if Bill was on the other side of the desk. The reboot would be coming and the reconstruction would be under somebody else's auspices, which is what is going to happen."

As for when that final decision on Belichick's future might come? While Curran believes a verdict will be reached soon, Belichick's 24-year history in Foxboro and status as one of the greatest coaches in NFL history make things a little more complicated for the Krafts.

🔊 Patriots Talk: Will Mike Vrabel alter the Patriots succession plan for Belichick? | Listen & Subscribe | Watch on YouTube

"I think it has a lot to do with the untangling of a 24-year union with an individual," Curran said Tuesday on a new Patriots Talk Podcast. "That untangling is going to take some time, especially if you want to keep the relationship intact going forward."

Check out the video player above and the YouTube video below for more insight from Curran on Belichick.

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