The 3-10 New England Patriots just upset the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday Night Football. As it turns out, this could be one of the last wins this team ever has under its current leadership. Seeing as they’ve had three losing seasons in their four years without Tom Brady, reports across the league believe that the team could trade legendary head coach Bill Belichick at the end of the season. This is still just a rumor, and Belichick remains in New England for now. However, a few months back, owner Robert Kraft stated that making the playoffs was a priority for the 2023 Patriots. While the Patriots are not mathematically eliminated from the postseason, they’d need a small miracle to play January football.
With this in mind, the Patriots could trade Bill Belichick and start a new era in New England. Belichick’s tenure in New England isn’t ending on the highest note, but that doesn’t mean teams won’t be interested in the eight-time Super Bowl champion. According to Jeff Howe of The Athletic, the Patriots could secure a first-round pick for his services.
Note: Howe’s article is behind a paywall, so in order to respect the website, I will not be pulling quotes from his article.
Report: Patriots Could Trade Bill Belichick For A First-Round Pick
Does This Report Make Sense?
Jeff Howe is one of the best in the business, but you should never blindly trust any report in the league. The fact of the matter is that coaches, players, and executives around the league use the press as a way to push certain agendas through leaks. However, further scrutiny proves that this report is probably accurate. At the end of the day, history is always the best precedent, and we know that a coach can net a first-round pick in the trade.
Just last year, the New Orleans Saints parted ways with the retired Sean Payton in exchange for Denver’s first-round pick. Payton is a great coach in his own right, but he lacks Belichick’s pedigree. Even though Belichick’s Patriots haven’t looked nearly as dominant without Tom Brady, some team will be willing to roll the dice on the eight-time Super Bowl champion. While some might worry about Belichick’s age, the fact of the matter is that the longtime Patriots coach desperately wants to break Don Shula’s record for most wins by a head coach. Shula is currently at 328, while Belichick just earned his 300th win. Assuming Belichick won’t stop until he has the record, that means he’ll need to coach at least another three or four years.
So, we’ve established a recent precedent for coaching trades, and we’ve shown that Belichick will want to keep coaching for at least a few more years. This means that some team will likely try and pull the trigger on a Bill Belichick trade, but which teams make the most sense?
Possible Bill Belichick Trade Destinations
New Orleans Saints/Atlanta Falcons/Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The NFC South is a terrible division, but somebody needs to win the division at the end of the day. Each one of these three coaches are on the hot seat and might not be back next week, even if they clinch a trip to the playoffs. It’s hard to imagine a team sending away a top-10 pick in a Bill Belichick trade, but perhaps the NFC South champion would be willing to part with their mid-round pick. There is some appeal for Belichick as well, as he’d likely see an easy path to the playoffs in this weak division.
Los Angeles Chargers
Belichick’s inability to develop Mac Jones into a franchise quarterback has hurt his reputation across the league, but nobody can deny that his ability to coach up a defense is as good as ever. This makes the Chargers the best possible trade destination for Bill Belichick, as Los Angeles already has a franchise quarterback in Justin Herbert. Herbert is no Tom Brady, but he is good enough to singlehandedly create a functioning offense. The Chargers don’t need to rebuild, so if Belichick can fix the defensive side of the ball, then this team could make a deep run as soon as next year.
The Carolina Panthers are the worst team in football and need help at just about every position imaginable. However, owner David Tepper has never shied away from making a big move, and nothing would be bigger than executing a Bill Belichick trade. Obviously, Carolina doesn’t have their first-round pick, so they’d need to find some other way to make this deal work out. While it would be foolish to give up what little assets you have for someone that doesn’t exactly have a glowing track record on the offensive side of the ball, Belichick would make the Panthers better.
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