The thought of Bill Belichick leaving New England was once unfathomable. But given the current state of the Patriots, it isn't farfetched to believe 2023 could be the legendary head coach's final season in Foxboro.
The Patriots are dead last in the AFC with a 2-6 record and almost certainly will miss the playoffs for the third time in four years. That could be enough to convince owner Robert Kraft it's time to move on from Belichick in the offseason.
If so, Belichick may be traded rather than fired. Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio floated an intriguing theory that Belichick could be traded to the Washington Commanders in 2024.
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"What I heard over the weekend from someone I know, someone I trust, that made me say, 'Whoa, that's interesting,' is the possibility that the end result for the Commanders is a trade with the Patriots for Bill Belichick," Florio said during Wednesday's episode of PFT Live.
Does a Belichick-to-Washington trade actually make sense? Is there a realistic chance of such a deal being made this offseason? NBC Washington's JP Finlay joined Phil Perry on a new episode of the Next Pats Podcast to share his thoughts.
🔊 Next Pats: Would the Washington Commanders ever trade for Bill Belichick? | Listen & Subscribe | Watch on YouTube
"I believe this is Patriots fan fiction," Finlay said. "Because I don't think anybody up there thinks they should get rid of Bill, because of everything he's accomplished. But this is your out. If somebody trades for Bill and it helps the organization, and Bill wants to go, and I know he grew up in Annapolis and I know he belongs to some nice golf courses here in the D.C. area. This lets Pats fans feel happy about starting their next chapter.
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"Here's why it's not going to happen. It would be completely opposite of how (Commanders owner) Josh Harris has run his other sports teams, where he hires a football boss and lets him make the decisions. It's what he did in hoops, it's what he did in hockey with the Devils. They are about building and analytics and I imagine the trends in the NFL are young offensive guys. I can't say definitively this will not happen, but I don't see it happening."
Belichick and the Patriots will host the Commanders this Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.
Also in the episode:
- What we learned from the NFL trade deadline.
- Finlay’s advice for covering a bad team.
- What’s Washington’s mindset heading into Sunday?