Report: Josh McDaniels could return to Patriots if Bill Belichick stays

Patriots

Josh McDaniels was a part of Belichick’s coaching staff during six Super Bowl title runs.

Josh McDaniels and Bill Belichick could be back on the same sideline in 2024. Jim Davis / The Boston Globe

If Robert Kraft and Patriots ownership decide to retain Bill Belichick for a 25th season in Foxborough, the legendary head coach could have an old friend back with him on the sideline.

According to The Athletic’s Jeff Howe, if Belichick remains in New England this offseason, the Patriots’ long-time offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels could return to the organization in some capacity.

McDaniels is currently a free agent after getting fired by the Las Vegas Raiders in October after less than two seasons on the job as the team’s head coach.

“Belichick will need to lay out a firm plan to dramatically improve the on-field product after the Patriots’ worst record (4-13) of Kraft’s ownership. Part of that plan may include a reunion with former Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who is considered a candidate to return, sources close to the situation said,” Howe wrote. “McDaniels and Belichick have remained close, and McDaniels has long been one of Kraft’s favorite members of the organization.”

Howe added in his piece that Belichick and Kraft met on Monday, with the “expectation” that they will meet at least once more.

McDaniels was a fixture on Bill Belichick’s coaching staff throughout the franchise’s two-decade dynasty. The 47-year-old McDaniels coached in some capacity on all six of New England’s Super Bowl seasons, spending 19 total years with the organization.

McDaniels was spotted entering the VIP gate at Gillette Stadium on Sunday for New England’s season finale against the Jets, according to Kyle Hightower of The Associated Press

McDaniels served as New England’s offensive coordinator in two separate stints from 2006-08 and 2012-21. Along with helping to craft a lethal offense for several seasons alongside Tom Brady, McDaniels’ final season in Foxborough also saw rookie Mac Jones earn a Pro Bowl nod in 2021.

Since McDaniels left for Las Vegas, New England’s offense has been nothing short of a disaster. After ranking 26th in the NFL in yards per game (314.6) and 17th in points per game (21.4) under Matt Patricia in 2022, New England bottomed out this year — tying the Panthers for the worst offense in the league at 13.9 points per game. 

If McDaniels was to rejoin New England for a third stint with the organization, it remains to be seen what would happen with current offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien, whose anticipated return last offseason did not stop Mac Jones (or this entire offense’s) regression in 2023. 

But before McDaniels decides on whether yet another return is in the cards with the Patriots, Kraft and Co. will need to decide their next move with Belichick, who currently remains under contract with New England.