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#pounditSaturday, January 22, 2022

Would the Patriots consider trading Bill Belichick?

Bill Belichick

The New England Patriots’ dynasty appears to officially have come to an end. Tom Brady is slinging touchdown passes for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers while Bill Belichick has no obvious answer at the quarterback position and is trying to somehow avoid his first losing season since 2000. If the struggles continue or worsen, could Belichick be the next to go?

Belichick is 68, so retirement can never be ruled out entirely. However, he has given no indication that he plans to walk away, and many believe the challenge of trying to win without Brady will make him want to stick around. Of course, Belichick wanting to continue coaching the Patriots is only part of the equation.

Some have floated the idea that the Patriots could trade Belichick. Peter King of NBC Sports, who has covered Belichick for decades, said this week that he would not call that a “dumb idea.” However, he said the Patriots would need a massive haul in return and wonders if any team is willing to offer it given Belichick’s age.

“Especially not really knowing how much longer Bill is going to coach, he’s getting up there in years and you don’t really know how much longer he’s going to coach, so are you going to trade two (first-round picks) for a guy who might only coach for four years? I think it’s an interesting thing. I don’t think it’s something you should dismiss out of hand,” King said, according to WEEI.com’s Andy Hart.

Trades involving NFL head coaches are rare, but not unheard of. Belichick became the coach of the Patriots in 2000 after New England traded the No. 16 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft to acquire him. Still, a lot would have to fall into place for the Patriots to actually entertain trading Belichick.

As King notes, Belichick would have to want to go. He has deep ties to the struggling New York Giants, but starting fresh at age 69 would be no easy task. Trading Belichick would require three things — New England’s desire to move on from him, Belichick’s desire to coach elsewhere, and a team that is willing to pay a king’s ransom for him. All of that sounds unlikely, though not impossible.

For now, Belichick has to find a way to rebuild an offense that is — as many predicted — in shambles without Brady. The coach recently offered an honest assessment of where things stand in New England, but team owner Robert Kraft almost certainly would have been glad to keep Brady if Belichick still wanted him. Because of that, Belichick may have less leeway with the ownership group than many believe.

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