There was some interesting news that came out on Sunday, with the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport revealing a report that certainly turned some heads.
According to Rapoport, Bill Belichick received a lucrative multi-year contract extension this offseason with the Patriots, which he believes makes his future a bit more stable moving forward.
Obviously, there’s been a lot of speculation about Belichick’s future, with many already beginning to turn the page on him locally. While it’s easy to “ignore the noise” outside the building, it doesn’t change the fact that internally, players had already been started to be peppered with questions related to Belichick’s possible firing.
That’s why some find the timing of this news interesting. Given the secretive nature of Belichick’s contract, for any news to come out at all is surprising. However, the question now appears to be whether or not the possible idea when it comes to why this came to light at all was to quell some of the discussion as he tries to keep his players focused on the task at hand, despite their tough start.
NBC Sports Boston’s Tom Curran believes that Sunday’s win over the Bills, which was Belichick’s 300th career win, will likely have a much bigger impact on the players rather than the news about Belichick’s contract. In fact, if they can continue building on it, then that would be all it would really take for his future to become less of a talking point.
“If Bill Belichick this morning decided it was a great idea to try and asuage people’s concerns about next year by letting folks know, ‘I’m on a multi-year contract,’ that doesn’t do anything compared to what his team delivered for him today,” said Curran Sunday night. “Maybe the two are linked, I don’t know, but Bill isn’t going to have to worry about his contract and talking to folks if his team performs this way. Even if they end up with an 8-9 record. If this team can come from this point and continue to build, he’ll be around.”
Clearly, on Sunday, it was business as usual as none of the players have shown any quit. They played at a high level all afternoon, including a second half where they held off a late surge by the Bills that saw Buffalo put up 15 fourth quarter points, with Buffalo’s final score coming off of a late turnover by Kendrick Bourne that looked eerily familiar to past miscues that sunk them.
Belichick’s team stepped up in a big way on Sunday. (PHOTO:Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports)
Instead, his team did something it hadn’t done all year: his guys stepped up and pulled off a game-winning touchdown drive to pull off the upset and improve to 2-5 on the season.
That’s the kind of effort that would essentially lead you to believe the players remain in his corner.
Curran looked into things a little further and it appears the “multi-year” part of the contract only goes into next year, which means that while an in-season firing probably isn’t likely, for Belichick to realize the rest of his deal, the team still needs to continue showing progress over these final 10 weeks.
“Here’s my understanding of what that contract is, which, of course, we’re always trying to find out and hammer it out, but once you hear a report like that, you double down and try and check with as many people as you can to get down, ‘is that accurate?'” said Curran following the game on Sunday night on his Patriots Talk Podcast. “My presumption has been, based upon what the Patriots have talked about and what Robert Kraft has talked about, is that in two years, Jerod Mayo is most likely the heir apparent. So that means after the 2024 season. My understanding remains, that this ‘multi-year’ only includes 2023 and 2024. So there’s your two years. Extension not going into the backend of this decade.”
“Additionally, when we talk about that contract, I think Bill Belichick is still very much on the same notice that Robert Kraft had him on in March. If the team is not headed in the right direction, then personal gain and personal satisfaction and statistics will be trumped by overall performance of the team. So even if there is a 2024 season on the contract, if the Patriots are not heading in the right direction, that would not preclude ownership from making that hard decision. That’s what I understand to be the case right now.”
Phil Perry also pointed out that the circle is small of people who would have been in the know about the deal, which is why there’s some belief that Belichick may have been the one to leak this information.
“I think it’s important to highlight just how small his circle is, and how unusual it is for information on the contract to get out,” said Perry. “And I think people maybe assume ‘Well, how many people could know about this? This could be a friend. This could be a close associate that would have an idea of what this thing really looks like.'”
“My understanding is, there are three people who know the details of Bill Belichick’s contract: Robert Kraft, Jonathan Kraft, and Bill Belichick. And I even followed up to say, ‘Well, Neil Cornrich must know a little bit too, right? I mean, Bill Belichick’s agent?’ That was my assumption going into the day. I was told today, ‘No, Bill Belichick does his own deals at this point. Neil Cornrich was Bill Belichick’s agent and continues to be a friend and probably an advisor to a degree, but he’s the guy that’s doing these negotiations. And so it’s a very small three-person circle.”
“And so when we look at it, and if we understand that to be the case, why is this out there? What’s the point? And to me, an interesting one would be, if Bill Belichick thought this would create a little bit of buy-in, as you mentioned earlier, among players, maybe among staff, front office, assistant coaches, maybe it gives everybody – or he thinks – it gives everybody a little bit more security and, I don’t know, maybe helps them execute their jobs as they try to save their season here. That would be really interesting to me if that was the play here.”
For Belichick, ending their three-game skid with a win over a team like Buffalo and instilling some confidence heading into next Sunday’s game in Miami is definitely a good start. With 10 weeks still to go, there’s still a lot of football left and the hope now is, no matter how it ends up, Belichick will be just fine as long as they go down swinging.
If he manages to get even more from them and they somehow claw their way back into it, even better.
Posted Under: Patriots News