The Patriots have immediately filled Bill Belichick‘s coaching position. New England has promoted linebackers coach Jerod Mayo as the team’s new head coach, ESPN’s Mike Reiss notes. The team has since announced the move.
As previously noted, the Patriots included succession language in Mayo’s latest contract. As a result, the team was not obligated to satisfy the Rooney Rule and interview outside candidates for the position. Instead, Mayo has immediately been tapped to lead the Patriots on the sidelines beginning in the 2024 season, one which will be the first in nearly a quarter century without Belichick at the helm.
Given Mayo’s stock within the organization, the move (which Reiss adds will be made confirmed in a press conference next week) comes as little surprise. The former first-round pick spent his entire playing career in New England, earning a number of accolades along the way including Defensive Rookie of the Year, two Pro Bowl invitations and an All-Pro nod after leading the league in tackles in 2010. He has been a Patriots coach since 2019.
Mayo was seen as a HC candidate in New England but around the NFL as well. The Panthers extended an invitation to interview him for their vacancy last offseason, but he turned it down. With his status as Belichick’s heir apparent seemingly confirmed with his new contract, Mayo was frequently labeled the top candidate to watch in the event the Patriots parted ways with their 24-year coach. Indeed, Dianna Russini of The Athletic reports New England made no inquiries into the top outside candidates in this year’s cycle, opting to immediately turn to Mayo once Belichick was officially gone.
At the age of 37, Mayo will now surpass Sean McVay as the league’s youngest head coach. The Rams Super Bowl winner has proven to be a sound hire given his track record, but Mayo’s resume is considerably thinner than that of many other options currently on the market. Nevertheless, he will now be tasked with helping to oversee a signficant organizational reset, a process which will include the hiring of a general manager after decades of Belichick wearing both hats.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network confirms New England will now look to bring in a GM to partner with Mayo. Given the relative inexperience of the team’s new coach, a lengthy track record in the front office would presumably be a key target for New England’s next hire. Struggles in the draft during the past several years has left the Patriots short on cost-effective talent at a number of positions, something the new decision-makers will look to rectify as soon as possible.
Set to be among the league leaders in cap space ahead of free agency and owners of the No. 3 pick in April’s draft, the Patriots will be a team to watch closely this offseason. Acquiring a franchise quarterback will be a top priority given the struggles shown by Mac Jones over the past two seasons and the lack of starting-level promise shown by Bailey Zappe. It remains to be seen who will lead the organization in the front office moving forward, but Mayo can now begin the transition to head coaching responsibilities for the first time in his career.
Given today’s news, the first of eight HC vacancies around the league has been filled. Plenty of other dominoes have yet to fall, but New England now has its 2024 plan in place along the sidelines before any of the other teams still in need of a new hire.