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As speculation ramps up about Bill Belichick’s future with the New England Patriots, the coach dodged three separate questions Wednesday morning on the issue, using the same answer for each query.
“Getting ready for Kansas City,” he said when asked whether he’ll return to the Pats, if he wants to keep coaching and if he has made a plan regarding the future with Robert Kraft.
The questions were asked following a report that the Patriots decided to part ways with Belichick following the team’s loss to the Indianapolis Colts in Germany.
After Robert Kraft signaled before the season that he wanted this season to end with a playoff win, the Patriots are 3-10 and were eliminated from playoff contention earlier than any season in the Belichick era. They’re headed now for a losing season for the third time in the four years since Tom Brady left.
After the season, a decision between Kraft and Belichick likely looms. However, it’s not all that surprising that Belichick has dodged questions about his future. He famously retorted “We’re on to Cincinnati” five times after a blowout loss to the Chiefs in 2014.
What to make of Belichick’s comments
At this point, Belichick knows that his future status with the Patriots will be a focal point for what remains of this disappointing season. The Patriots are as bad as they’ve been in the 24-year era with Belichick as head coach.
A league source indicated that Belichick and Kraft have not yet met to finalize Belichick’s future status, though that’s likely to come shortly after the season ends, and by then, it could feel like just a formality.
Kraft upped the pressure on Belichick first in 2021 by saying that the Patriots needed to build through the draft. But the team’s draft classes since then haven’t improved and Belichick still hasn’t re-signed a player he drafted in the first three rounds since 2013.
Then Kraft again upped the pressure before this season, expressing his desire that the Pats get back to the postseason. Instead, 2023 resulted in the earliest the Patriots have been eliminated from the playoff contention in three decades. — Chad Graff, Patriots beat writer
What’s next for Belichick
If the Patriots do move on from Belichick shortly after the season ends on Jan. 7, the big question will be whether they can trade Belichick (potentially netting a first-round pick for him) or whether they mutually part ways with him, allowing the 71-year-old to decide what his next move is.
Of course, it would be advantageous for the Pats to try to trade Belichick and potentially pair their likely top-5 draft pick with another selection in the first round. That would provide a big jolt to their rebuild. But the nightmare scenario would be Belichick refusing to part ways mutually and forcing Kraft to fire him if he wants to move on. — Graff
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(Photo: Alex Grimm / Getty Images)
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