New England Patriots

Report: Mayo taking over for Belichick is ‘most likely outcome'

Mayo is the best internal candidate to replace Belichick.

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Bill Belichick's future as head coach of the New England Patriots remains the biggest storyline surrounding the team entering the final four weeks of the 2023 NFL regular season.

Belichick is under contract through 2024, but with the Patriots enduring their worst season since he took over in 2000 and certain to miss the playoffs for the third time in the last four years, a change could be in order, as our Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran reported Monday on NBC Sports Boston's Arbella Early Edition.

"When (the Patriots) came out of Germany, conversations I had that week made it very clear that a decision was made," Curran said. "They were going to play out the string, and at the end of the year there would be a parting of the ways, for a variety of reasons."

The Patriots lost 10-6 to the Indianapolis Colts in Germany, then had a bye week. They have a 1-2 record post-bye, including a surprising 21-18 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers last Thursday.

So if Belichick doesn't return next season, who takes his place?

Jerod Mayo, who has been a linebackers coach on Belichick's staff since 2019, appears to be a strong candidate.

ESPN's Dan Graziano reported Wednesday, citing "multiple sources in and around the building," that Mayo "taking over next year is the most likely outcome, though others are no longer certain that's the way (owner Robert) Kraft will go."

Mayo was asked Tuesday in a video press conference about potentially succeeding Belichick as head coach. His answer was predictable, although he did confirm he has aspirations of being an NFL head coach.

“I bet you could say the answer that I’m about to give you,” Mayo said. “We’re 100 percent focused on the Chiefs. I only try to control the controllables, and that’s out of my control.

"Hopefully as you guys all know, one day I want to be a head coach. Where that is, I don’t know. But at the same time, I would say I have a lot of love for New England. I have a lot of love for the fans, the people around the building. And you know, my family, they love it here as well. So that would be great if I could stay here and continue to progress throughout my career, but we’ll see."

Mayo potentially could have departed the franchise last offseason for a head coach or defensive coordinator job elsewhere, but the Patriots signed him to a contract extension. The Patriots, including Kraft, have publicly talked about their respect for Mayo and wanting him to be with the team long term.

"Well, he's definitely a strong candidate to be the heir apparent," Kraft said of Mayo back in March, "but we have some other good people in our system. So right now, we have a good head coach, and we're doing everything we can to support him, and make sure we do everything we can to win."

Mayo is ready for a promotion. He was a very good player and now is a highly respected coach. The strength of the Patriots this season has unequivocally been their defense, which Mayo has his fingerprints all over. The real question is whether his first head coach opportunity will come in New England or somewhere else.

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