Bill Belichick reportedly began back-channeling prior to breakup with Patriots


It appears Belichick also expected the 2023 season to be his last in New England before the year ended.

Bill Belichick and the Patriots parted ways on Thursday, but it appears he expected his departure prior to that. Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The Patriots’ decision to part ways with Bill Belichick on Thursday didn’t necessarily come as a surprise after several weeks of rumors that the 2023 season would be the head coach’s last in New England.

It looks like Belichick also expected to be out in New England prior to the end of the season. The former Patriots head coach had people “on his behalf back-channeling” for other possible jobs in recent weeks, CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones reported on “The NFL Today.”

Rumors of the end of Belichick’s 24-year tenure in New England began to pick up steam in December, when a report from NBC Sports Boston’s Tom E. Curran stated that the Patriots made a decision to move on from their coach following their Week 10 loss to the Colts. Several other similar reports emerged in the leadup to the Patriots’ regular-season finale against the Jets as well.

The Patriots quickly found their successor to Belichick, naming Jerod Mayo their next head coach, and will formally introduce him Wednesday. Belichick has yet to interview for his next job, though he reportedly still wants to coach.

Belichick and the Falcons are believed to have a “mutual” interest, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler recently reported. However, the Commanders aren’t going to pursue Belichick, according to Jones. If Belichick does find a new head coaching job this offseason, he’s expected to “bring familiar faces with him,” Jones added.

It obviously remains to be seen if Belichick will get hired and who those familiar faces would be that he’d bring along with him. But former Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels has been among those speculated to possibly join Belichick at his next gig. McDaniels would also reportedly be the frontrunner to replace Bill O’Brien if the Patriots were to part ways with the offensive coordinator this offseason.

Beyond McDaniels, some other notable coaches who have spent the majority of their coaching careers working with Belichick include Joe Judge, Matt Patricia, and his sons, Steve and Brian.

The Falcons and Commanders are just two of the seven head coaching openings around the league. The Panthers, Raiders, Chargers, Seahawks, and Titans also have head coaching vacancies.