Patriots Talk Podcast

Edelman: Kraft ‘needs to have a hard conversation' with Belichick

"I think he's earned that, to be part of that decision."

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Bill Belichick has already cemented himself as one of the greatest coaches of all time for the success he has brought to the New England Patriots, but how long of a leash can the past success give him?

With six Super Bowl titles with the Patriots, and two as the defensive coordinator of the New York Giants, Belichick has a long history of winning. Since the departure of former franchise quarterback Tom Brady, however, Belichick has posted a lackluster record of 28-35.

Former Patriot and three-time Super Bowl champion Julian Edelman chimed in to share his thoughts on Belichick's future in the latest episode of Tom E. Curran's Patriots Talk Podcast.

🔊 Patriots Talk: Julian Edelman on Mac, Bill and what’s next for the Patriots | Listen & Subscribe | Watch on YouTube

"I would say that they [Belichick and team owner Robert Kraft] have to have a hard conversation at the end of the year and lay everything out," Edelman said in response to Curran's question on if it would be disloyal of Kraft to let Belichick go. "You've got to see what Coach [Belichick] wants; maybe he doesn't want to be there anymore, maybe he does. If he doesn't, I think he's earned that, to be part of that decision."

With all of the success Belichick has had with the Patriots, Edelman believes Belichick has earned the right to control his own future, whether it be with New England or elsewhere. Should Kraft decide to move on from Belichick, Edelman seems to think that his former coach should have a say in how the relationship ends and where he ultimately ends up.

"But also, Mr. Kraft could lay it out [and say] 'Hey, look at this, look at the draft picks, look at what's going on, look at the past couple seasons,' you know?" Edelman added. "And Bill [Belichick] has done that. Bill's done that to everyone. Bill's done that to me when I went in for a contract -- 'Hey, you're not as fast, you're 32, you're coming off of an ACL [injury], why should I pay you that?'"

Edelman played a key part of the Patriots' successes during the Brady era. In his 12-year career, spent entirely in New England, Edelman logged 6,822 yards on 620 receptions with 36 touchdowns throughout his 137 games. Even after all the good he had done, Belichick saw he was declining after his ACL injury and questioned his value.

Edelman seems to insinuate that Belichick is now in a similar situation with Kraft -- he was once a great coach, but is starting to decline without Brady, so it's time to question his value.

To Edelman's note on the draft picks, Belichick has also become notorious for selecting the wrong offensive skill players. While he has had success drafting on the defensive end, Belichick's misses include drafting N'Keal Harry and Tyquan Thornton over the likes of A.J. Brown and George Pickens, respectively.

"There's going to have to be a hard conversation, and I think Bill would understand that," Edelman said of his former coach. "He's the one who said that this is a production-based business. I think if they act like grown-ups, I think there's a way for it to be handled. I don't know what it is, I think only three people can kind of know that answer right now, and that's Jonathan [Kraft], Mr. RKK [Robert Kraft], and Bill [Belichick]."

While the Patriots are unlikely to make any mid-season coaching changes, especially with respect to Belichick, it may be something they seriously need to consider moving forward. New England will likely have a top-three pick in the upcoming draft, with the chance to select a generational talent quarterback. If there was ever a time to rebuild and start from scratch, starting with a new head coach, that time is now.

Also in the episode:

  • The Patriots currently have a top-three pick in the 2024 draft. How important to the franchise should the care and feeding of the new QB be?
  • Does the “old-school” coaching style work with today’s players?
  • Full interview with Julian Edelman.
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