Is trading Belichick to the Commanders a realistic scenario? Breer weighs in originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
Could Bill Belichick’s New England Patriots tenure end the same way it began?
In 2000, the New York Jets agreed to trade Belichick to the Patriots in exchange for draft picks after the head coach announced his resignation with a message on a napkin. Six Super Bowl titles later, Belichick’s future in New England is in question.
With the Patriots taking a 2-6 record into Week 9, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio floated the idea of owner Robert Kraft moving on from Belichick this offseason by trading him to the Washington Commanders. Belichick is believed to be under contract through 2024, so Kraft could opt to receive compensation for his longtime head coach rather than fire him and get nothing in return.
It might seem like a wild scenario, but Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer believes there’s merit to Florio’s report.
“I would even add that maybe it’s not even as a coach. Maybe it’s as an executive,” Breer said on Thursday’s Early Edition. “I think it’s possible either way. And I think what Bill Belichick can do for Josh Harris as a new owner is he can bring you credibility. And if you look at the history of guys of this age, at this stage of their careers going places, it’s generally a credibility play on the part of the owner. When Bill Parcells went to Miami, they had a new owner coming in in Steve Ross, it gave Steve Ross credibility. When Shad Khan hired Tom Coughlin in 2016, it was because they bumbled around and they messed things up his first five years of ownership. Tom Coughlin gave him credibility in Jacksonville.
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“And so, I think it’d be a similar sort of play where they’re looking to build a stadium, they’re looking to regain the trust of the fans., they’re looking to turn the page. And one easy way to do that would be to hire the greatest coach of all time in some capacity.”
Belichick enters Sunday’s game vs. Washington with 331 career head coaching wins, 16 behind Don Shula for the record. As long as he’s chasing that mark, Breer believes Belichick will prefer to coach. Then, he’d be willing to transition to a full-time front-office role.
“I do think he still wants to coach,” Breer said. “But I think the question becomes, what are the opportunities out there for him? And I think he wants to chase the record. Now, he’ll never admit this, but I think that’s really important to him and he’s close enough where if he went somewhere else, that’d be a consideration. Like, ‘If I want to coach, part of it is that I do wanna go after the record.’
“But if this is the best opportunity for him, and maybe he could set it up a certain way — or even like, ‘Hey, I’ll come in and I’ll coach for a year or two and I’ll have my potential replacement in place and I will set up the organization. Hire a GM, hire a coach in waiting, hire a coaching staff. And I’ll be the guy who kind of sets the table, but I’ll have the organization set up for what it’s gonna look like after me.’ That could appeal to a new owner.”
Watch the full “Early Edition” segment with Breer below: