Phil Perry

Why Jerod Mayo could benefit from lack of coaching title change

There might be a reason why Jerod Mayo didn't receive a promotion on paper.

NBC Universal, Inc.

The Patriots haven't made any kind of official proclamation just yet that there are new titles for individuals on the coaching staff headed into 2023. But there have been a few changes made, according to the team's website.

We now know that Joe Judge is assistant head coach. We know that Evan Rothstein is the assistant quarterbacks coach, officially, after helping Judge coach that position a season ago.

We also know that Jerod Mayo's title didn't change. He remains a linebackers coach. That's noteworthy because back in January, the Patriots let the world know that they planned on retaining his services for a while. Mayo's contract was up after the 2022 season, but the team put out a press release -- emanating from Robert Kraft's office and with Bill Belichick's input -- saying that it had "begun contract discussions that would keep him with the team long-term."

While Mayo did agree to a new deal with the Patriots, and while he has made it clear he would like to remain in Foxboro, the fact that his title has gone unchanged is not insignificant.

Should Mayo receive an offer to interview for a coordinator or head coaching position elsewhere, he would still have the opportunity to do so. Those would represent promotions, and by rule, his employer could not prevent him from exploring those opportunities.

Had Mayo been offered and then taken a new title -- defensive coordinator or assistant head coach, for example -- the team could block him from interviewing for jobs that would represent lateral moves.

In order to stay with the Patriots, Mayo turned down interviews for the open Browns defensive coordinator and Panthers head coaching roles this offseason. Odds are that he'll be in New England for the foreseeable future. And the Kraft family's willingness to make sure it holds onto Mayo would suggest that they view him as head-coaching material.

"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."

Belichick probably knows somewhere in the back of his mind that Kraft has to plan for his franchise's future. And the fact that Mayo has added some responsibilities to his plate this offseason -- he was involved in the team's offensive coordinator interviews and he was in the draft room this spring -- is an indication that Belichick is open to giving Mayo the kinds of experiences that a linebackers coach on another staff might not be afforded.

But if for some reason Mayo is enticed to spread his wings in a different NFL locale down the line, the fact that he remains a position coach in title means that he remains flexible.

Contact Us