Arbella Early Edition

NFL insider gives insight into potential timeline for Belichick decision

It would behoove the Patriots to make a decision sooner rather than later.

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The New England Patriots close out their 2023 NFL season Sunday when they host the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium. While the outcome of the game is very important to where the Patriots pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, the larger story might be what comes in the days after.

Will Bill Belichick and the Patriots part ways? After 24 years and six Super Bowl championships, will the lack of playoff football in three of the last four years be enough for Patriots owner Robert Kraft to make a head coach change?

If the Patriots do decide to make a change, when could that decision come?

"I think the result of the game is non-consequential for people around here. I think what is consequential is what happens next week," Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer said Thursday on NBC Sports Boston's Arbella Early Edition. "I would assume this isn't going to be one of those firings that happens on Sunday night by press release. I would think there's going to be a little more to it. I do believe that Robert Kraft has made up his mind on what he's going to do. But he's going to go through a full process and make it look like he had to think about it on Monday. So I do think there will be at least a little bit of a delay."

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How much of a delay, exactly?

Breer said he "wouldn't be shocked" if a decision came at some point Monday, then explained why making a decision sooner rather than later would be the best course of action for the Patriots.

"You're really screwing your franchise if you don't move with some expedience," Breer added. "Sometimes there are good reasons to wait, but if there aren't good reasons to wait, you're doing it just to make it look like you're being thoughtful, and that's just useless.

"You need to get on with it, go through the process of hiring a new head coach, even if it's Jerod Mayo. You do have to go through a process, per league rules. And then you have to figure out what to do with the front office, because those front office people are going to have to be at the Senior Bowl in three weeks. It's a critical offseason ahead for the team that whoever is in charge will have to dive into, and it's important to get that moving."

If the Patriots wait too long to make a decision on Belichick, other teams might swoop in and hire the best available head coach candidates. Maybe that doesn't matter if Mayo is going to replace Belichick, but it's a risk the Patriots shouldn't be taking.

The upcoming offseason could be the most consequential one in team history. They will have a top-five pick for the first time in almost thirty years, as well as a massive amount of salary cap space in free agency. Being well-prepared for these critical windows on the league calendar is immensely important for the Patriots, which is why getting the coaching staff and front office moves done ASAP is the best path to take.

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