The future of Bill Belichick as the head coach of the New England Patriots is one of the most interesting storylines in the NFL right now.
The Patriots are 2-9 and could use a reset at head coach, especially with a top three pick in the 2024 NFL Draft looking more and more likely each week. But with Belichick under contract for 2024, the only way for him to coach a different team next season is if he gets fired or traded.
A trade involving Belichick might make sense for both sides, but that doesn't mean it would be an easy process.
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🔊 Patriots Talk: Trading Bill Belichick? It’s a lot more complicated than you think | Listen & Subscribe | Watch on YouTube
As Tom E. Curran noted in the latest Patriots Talk Podcast, there are a few important factors at play.
"We end up getting so caught up in the scenarios of where will Bill go, that we're losing sight of the fact that the more difficult spot isn't finding who will have Bill, but how the deal gets done," Curran said.
"Here are the elements you need to find for Belichick to coach in 2024 somewhere else. You need to find him a place that wants Bill and will give him a deal for, what I would say, is at least three years. Plus all control, despite Bill's track record in the draft and free agency over recent years. And the wherewithal to sell Bill to their locker room, their fans and their media. You have to find that place, and it also has to be a place where Bill wants to be."
How many teams that might have a head coach vacancy in the offseason check all of those boxes? The list probably isn't super long, even though there could be five, six, seven or more job openings at some point.
And would Belichick really want to go to a franchise that's not ready to be a contender in 2024?
The Carolina Panthers need a head coach (again), but they have an awful roster and don't own their 2024 first-round pick. The Chicago Bears could have two top-five picks in 2024, but that roster has loads of concerns. The Chargers have a top-tier quarterback in Justin Herbert, but their defense is subpar. The Commanders might have a good QB in Sam Howell, but the offensive line and defense have major weaknesses.
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So, which good teams might need new coaches in the offseason? Phil Perry identified two potential possibilities.
"I think he's going to want to go somewhere he can win right away," Perry said. "And these teams may not be looking for head coaches, but it's Buffalo and Sean McDermott, whose team is .500 right now and doesn't seem to be on top of its stuff the way people anticipated.
"The other would be Dallas with Mike McCarthy, who appears to be doing a pretty good job down there right now. But if they get blown out in the first round of the postseason, is Jerry Jones not looking at it and saying, 'Wait a second, I can get Bill Belichick to coach Dak Prescott and one of the best defenses in football?'"
Another reason for Belichick to take his talents to a situation where he can win right away is the pursuit of Don Shula's all-time coaching victories record. Belichick is 17 wins away from passing Shula. It's one of the last major records Belichick has yet to break. He could surpass Shula's 347 career wins (including the playoffs) in two seasons if he goes to a good team.
The Bills and Cowboys would help Belichick win games in the short term, but are they places where he could get the kind of control over roster decisions that he has in New England? We know Cowboys owner Jerry Jones loves to call the shots. And in regard to the Bills, would Patriots owner Robert Kraft even entertain trading Belichick to a division rival that New England has to play twice per season?
As Curran and Perry explain in detail throughout the podcast, there are so many things to consider when talking about a potential Belichick trade. Even if a trade is the best way for Belichick and the Patriots to part ways, finding a deal that works for each side is probably much easier said than done.
Also in this episode:
- Revisiting Bill Belichick stepping down as coach of the Jets
- What we want to see from Bailey Zappe on Sunday
- Will Malik Cunningham get playing time?