Bill Belichick’s remarkable career with the Patriots will almost certainly be coming to an end after this season. It’s still to be determined how Team Owner Robert Kraft and Belichick will part ways. Kraft will certainly try to make the exit as gracious and appreciative as he can, while Belichick may go along with a “mutual parting of ways”, or try to force his way out so he can avoid being traded to his next destination.
Regardless of how the exit happens, Belichick will certainly have options in continuing his career in the football world. Here are the top five possibilities for Belichick.
The Top 5 Destinations if Belichick is Fired
Los Angeles Chargers
The Los Angeles Chargers will be the most in-demand landing spot for all prospective Head Coaches this winter for one reason, Justin Herbert. Teams with franchise quarterbacks are rarely looking for a new Head Coach and after four years of mediocre to awful quarterback play in the post-Brady world, the soon-to-be 72-year-old Belichick would jump at the chance to work with Herbert.
In addition to Herbert, the Chargers have an elite left tackle in Rashawn Slater on a rookie contract, rookie defensive lineman Tuli Tuipulotu, slot corner Asante Samuel, Jr., and veteran receiver Keenan Allen to work with.
Yet this team does need a lot of work. Projected to be over $40 million above next year’s salary cap, players such as Mike Williams, Joey Bosa, and Khalil Mack could all be cut so the team can course correct. The running back room needs a complete makeover and first-round receiver Quentin Johnston has been a disappointment, meaning the 32-year-old Keenan Allen will be overly relied on again next season. Then there’s the defense, who never reached their potential under former Head Coach Brandon Staley.
There is also the reputation that the Spanos family is not known for paying head coaches large salaries, so Belichick would need to take a pay cut to join LA. Despite all this, Belichick’s best chance at taking down Don Shula’s all-time coaching wins record and regaining his status within league circles, is becoming the Charger’s next Head Coach.
There’s no guarantee that Arthur Smith will be fired, but if he is let go, Arthur Blank may turn to the coach who beat him down 28-3 in the Super Bowl to get this franchise back on track.
The Atlanta Falcons have not been terrible, but given their weak division and disappointing offense despite three top 10 picks spent on skill players, Belichick may be walking into a sleeping giant.
Belichick would need to figure out the quarterback situation, which is one of the toughest in the NFL. Desmond Ridder has shown he isn’t the guy, but the team is winning too much to be in play for one of the top quarterbacks in the draft.
Atlanta may need to turn to a highly-priced veteran like Kirk Cousins. Outside of quarterback, Belichick could take a roster that doesn’t have many obvious weaknesses and quickly elevate them back into a playoff contender.
Time has likely run out on Ron Rivera, who will have his third losing season out of four years as Washington Commanders’ Head Coach. This will be new team owner Josh Harris’s first Head Coach hiring, so it’s unclear what vision he has for the team. If he’s open to bringing in Belichick, it will be a chance for Belichick to show he’s still got it.
On the plus side, this team has strengths at receiver, an area Belichick has always struggled to evaluate talent, with Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson under contract. A talented interior defensive line anchored by Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen and a strong guard in Sam Cosmi.
Outside of that, this roster is largely ready for a rehaul. Belichick would have a top 5 pick with the chance to draft Drake Maye or Caleb Williams, plus two second and third-rounders at his disposal to remodel the roster in his vision completely.
It’s unclear if the analytically driven owner Harris would be open to acquiring an old-school coach, but if he is, it could be another chance for Belichick to build a roster as he sees fit.
The Carolina Panthers would be a tough sell, they are objectively in the worst situation of the entire NFL. Bryce Young has played poorly in year one, the team has no receiving threats, a poor interior offensive line, no first-round pick in this draft, no second-round pick in 2025 and to top it all off, an owner with high standards and no patience.
Yet there’s no guarantee there will be a huge demand for a 72-year-old coach who will inevitably need to be replaced within a few seasons. If Belichick wants to continue being a Head Coach, the Panthers may be his only chance.
There are positives. Owner David Tepper certainly isn’t shy of paying top dollar for talent, so Bill won’t need to take a pay cut necessarily. The defense has some high-end talent in pass rusher Brian Burns, defensive tackle Derrick Brown, and the oft-injured Jaycee Horn.
It’s a tough sell that a coach at the end of his career would need to take on a full rebuild, but Belichick may do his best work with his back against the wall.
Belichick may look over his options at the end of the season and come away unsatisfied. It’s unlikely a new team would give him the full power of Head Coach and General Manager he has enjoyed while in New England and he may be uninterested in taking over full rebuilds in Carolina or Washington at his age.
Belichick has done well in his TV appearances over the years. In 2019 he was one of the main hosts of the NFL 100 All-Time Team and received a Sports Emmy for his work. He was also well-received on a recent episode of College Game Day.
Being on television demonstrates that not only is Belichick a terrific analyst, but it allows him to showcase his great knowledge of the history of the game and more of his personality. Not to mention it’s a much easier schedule to work than the grind of the NFL.
If Bill decides 2023 is his last season running a team, there won’t be a shortage of demand for him to be on TV.
The End of a Legend’s Career
We do not know what the soon-to-be 72-year-old will want to finish off his career. He may enjoy coaching with two of his sons and want a few more years together with them. As a major NFL historian, he may want to take down Don Shula’s all-time wins record and put this as the priority. Or he may simply decide it’s time for a new path.
Whichever he chooses, his impact on the game has already been written. Just like when Michael Jordan played with the Wizards, we only remember him for the greatness he achieved with the Bulls. Wherever Belichick ends up next year, he’s earned the right to finish his career his way.
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