Boston Sports Tonight

NFL insider thinks there will be ‘competition' to hire Bill Belichick

How much of a market will there be for Belichick if he doesn't return to Foxboro in 2024?

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The New England Patriots are in the midst of their worst season in Bill Belichick's 24 years as the head coach.

They own the league's third-worst record at 2-9 and will miss the playoffs for the third time in the last four seasons. In fact, it will be the first time since 1999 and 2000 that New England has missed the playoffs in consecutive years.

Belichick's future with the Patriots beyond this season remains uncertain. He's under contract for 2024, but if the Patriots wanted to part ways with the legendary coach, they could trade him and get a draft pick(s). Firing him eliminates that scenario.

Even though the Patriots have struggled mightily in 2023, Belichick still has a Hall of Fame resume with a record six Super Bowl titles as a head coach. He's still one of the best coaches in the league and would make an irrelevant franchise one of the top stories in the league.

Belichick has always had a lot of power over roster decisions with the Patriots. If Belichick did leave New England in the offseason, would another owner be willing to give him the control over roster decisions that he might be seeking?

Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer noted Wednesday on NBC Sports Boston's Boston Sports Tonight that the chances of Belichick getting that kind of control increase if there's competition for his services. And Breer believes there will be.

"I think there's going to be competition for him," Breer said. "I talked to somebody who's really informed with this, and he said there are two guys in this market who are assured of getting job offers -- (Lions offensive coordinator) Ben Johnson and Bill Belichick. Those are the two. So I think money and control will come if there's competition for you."

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Belichick is just 17 wins away from breaking Don Shula's all-time coaching victories record. Therefore, going to a team with a legit chance to win in the short term probably would appeal to him.

But don't forget about ownership. The person calling the shots at the top of the franchise is always on the minds of coaches when they're deciding whether to take a job.

"The one thing you cannot change in the organization is the owner," Breer said. "So I think the owner is going to be very important to (Belichick), and his ability to work with the owner."

One potential destination for Belichick -- if he does depart the Patriots -- is the Carolina Panthers, who just fired head coach Frank Reich 11 games into his first season. Panthers owner David Tepper will soon hire the seventh coach of his short tenure in Carolina. He hasn't been a very patient owner. Could Belichick be the type of coach Tepper is looking for?

"I think it's more likely (Tepper) circles back to his initial thought last year, which was to hire his own guy, go and find a young guy," Breer said. "He was a minority owner with the Steelers, who have always hired young. But I wouldn't rule (Belichick) out, because it is something that would give (Tepper) some credibility. And if the criticism over the next four or five weeks gets to him, you could certainly see where he could say, 'The hell with it, I'm going to hire somebody who will bring credibility to the organization.'"

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