FOXBORO — Ahead of what may be Bill Belichick’s final Sunday as head coach of the New England Patriots, there are plenty of rumors swirling about what could be next for the future Hall of Famer. If the Patriots do decide to move on from Belichick after 24 incredible seasons, the head coach will have plenty of suitors interested in his services this offseason.
Several nuggets about Belichick’s future have been reported this weekend, beginning Saturday with ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Belichick and team owner Robert Kraft (and team president Jonathan Kraft) will meet sometime after the season to discuss what’s next for the two sides — a conversation that has not taken place in-season, according to Schefter.
“Although many around the league expect that a change will come in New England, the sides apparently have not yet talked about a split at any point this season,” Schefter wrote on Saturday.
If this is the end of the road for Belichick in New England, Schefter reports that it will not end with an outright firing.
“It is uncertain how this will play out and when a decision will be official, but few expect Belichick to be fired. He has accomplished too much to be met with a fate like that, and there are more questions about how and when Kraft and Belichick would part ways if that is in fact what they decide to do,” wrote Schefter.
If Belichick does become available to other teams this offseason, the “coaching carousel” will be centered around the 71-year-old, The Athletic’s Dianna Russinni wrote Saturday. The Washington Commanders and Las Vegas Raiders are both hoping for a shot to meet with Belichick this offseason, according to Russinni.
However, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported Sunday morning that the Commanders are, “not likely to pursue Belichick if they move on from head coach Ron Rivera.” He added that the Raiders and the L.A. Chargers are also “considered less likely options” for Belichick.
Rapoport did report that the Carolina Panthers may inquire about Belichick, whom they expressed interest in last season before hiring Frank Reich.
“There is also the possibility that a team with a head-coaching position not yet open could have interest in Belichick,” Rapoport added.
Another very interesting potential destination for Belichick could be the Atlanta Falcons. Atlanta is still in the running for the NFC South at 7-9 heading into Week 18, but owner Arthur Blank may opt to move on from head coach Arthur Smith. And according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, Belichick’s name has “come up frequently” in connection with the potential opening in Atlanta.
Now that would be one interesting introductory press conference should it happen, with Belichick likely avoiding any reference to New England’s epic comeback from being down 28-3 to the Falcons in Super Bowl LI.
While Belichick’s future remains unknown heading into Sunday’s regular-season finale against the Jets, it’s clear that he would be in demand if he becomes available this offseason.
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