Robert Kraft

Latest On Patriots’ Eliot Wolf Decision

The Patriots now officially have their top post-Bill Belichick pieces in place, naming Eliot Wolf their executive VP of player personnel nearly four months after hiring Jerod Mayo to replace the coaching legend on the sideline.

Filling these two jobs involved a historically low-volume search. After language in Mayo’s contract allowed the Patriots to work around the Rooney Rule — which mandates two external minority candidates be interviewed for HC positions — the team met with only two outside candidates for its de facto GM position. And the process leading to the Wolf hire proved to be a box-checking operation, as a few candidates around the league effectively predicted.

During search that saw three executives — the Bengals’ Trey Brown, the Bills’ Terrance Gray and former Cardinals staffer Quentin Harris — decline interviews, the Patriots met with Eagles scouting director Brandon Hunt and former Panthers exec Samir Suleiman. Neither interview took place at the team facility, according to’s Albert Breer, and the two candidates who agreed to interview did not meet with anyone beyond the Krafts.

Widely expected to end with Wolf being given the keys on a full-time basis, this Patriots search brought the combined total of outside candidates interviewed for the HC and GM jobs to two this offseason. By comparison, the Panthers met with 11 outside candidates for their HC post and eight non-Carolina-based staffers for their GM gig. The Chargers spoke with nine GM candidates and met with 13 outside coaches. The Commanders’ HC-GM search covered five GM aspirants and seven outside HC interviewees. The Raiders’ search most closely resembled the Patriots’, as they only met with two non-Antonio Pierce candidates for HC and five GM candidates.

The Pats, who have not given out a GM title in more than 30 years, gave Wolf a trial run by installing him as their acting personnel chief months before the draft, Breer adds. It would have been borderline shocking to see the team allow Wolf to select its hopeful long-term quarterback (No. 3 overall pick Drake Maye), turning down Giants and Vikings trade-up offers along the way, and then go with another candidate to lead the way post-draft. Most around the league correctly predicted New England would stick with Wolf, a longtime exec who had worked as the No. 2 man in Green Bay and Cleveland. Wolf later became a finalist for the Bears and Vikings’ GM jobs in 2022.

Wolf, 42, has changed the Patriots’ scouting system by replacing Belichick’s setup with what he used with the Packers; the Patriots will also switch up their workflow by having both Wolf and Mayo report to ownership. While this format can cause division, other teams have both their HC and GM meet directly with ownership rather than use a top-down approach.

Prior to Belichick’s exit, Matt Groh worked as his top lieutenant. The Patriots have employed Wolf since 2020, but the Krafts saw enough in the second-generation personnel man to vault him past Groh and into their top front office spot. Groh remains with the organization, but it will be Wolf — likely with more input from ownership compared to the Belichick era — leading the way.

Ownership did not conduct thorough searches to reach its Mayo-Wolf endpoint. That stands to be an important footnote as the team prepares for its first post-Belichick season.

Latest On Patriots’ Organizational Structure

During his lengthy tenure with the organization, Bill Belichick wielded enormous influence as head coach and de facto general manager of the Patriots. 2024 will mark the beginning of a notable transition both on the sidelines and in the front office.

Jerod Mayo succeeded Belichick as head coach, but New England briefly conducted a search for a new lead executive after the draft. To no surprise, that process produced only a shortlist of outside candidates willing to interview for the position before incumbent Eliot Wolf was given the title of EVP of player personnel. Wolf will control roster decisions and cap management among other GM-esque duties, but he will not have the autonomy Belichick previously enjoyed.

Prior to Wolf’s hire, Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated reported Mayo and New England’s next lead executive will both report to owner Robert Kraft. That marks a stark departure from the Belichick era, when he had free reign on staffing and roster-building moves with little input from Kraft. Tension between the two grew in recent seasons, though, as the organization’s inability to find a genuine Tom Brady successor became apparent.

Quarterback was an understandable priority ahead of this year’s draft, the first with Wolf at the helm. Kraft and the Patriots’ ownership wanted to exit the opening round with a rookie signal-caller, and new England turned down considerable interest from both the Giants and Vikings for the No. 3 pick. Retaining that selection cleared the way for Drake Maye to be drafted, and he is now positioned to operate as the team’s starter as early as 2024.

Needless to say, how Maye fares during the years to come will be a central factor in determining Mayo and Wolf’s job security. It will be interesting to see how the new setup plays out with Kraft again being a central figure in key organizational decisions as the other two kick off their first career seasons in their respective positions. As New England looks to rebound from a 4-13 campaign in 2024, the team will simultaneously try out a new structure with respect to operations.

Drake Maye Latest: Patriots, Ownership, Daniels, McCarthy, Giants, Vikings

5:58pm: To little surprise, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reports teams around the league believe New England will retain the third overall pick and use it on Maye. That would meet the team’s goal of adding a prospect capable of becoming a franchise passer and fall in line with the way draft winds have been blowing for quite some time. It would also, of course, increase attention on the Cardinals as the first team in position to select a non-QB.

10:34am: With Caleb Williams ticketed for Chicago and Jayden Daniels moving into clear pole position with Washington, where Drake Maye will end up has become perhaps this draft’s top talking point. A number of teams are on the radar for the two-year North Carolina starter, though the Patriots look set to have the right of first refusal.

Expected to come out of the first round with a passer, the Pats hosted Maye on a visit and have done plenty of work on this QB class. While trade-down rumblings have emerged, it does not appear strong offers have come the Pats’ way. They are expected to keep the No. 3 overall pick, and NBC Sports Boston’s Tom Curran believes Maye will be the Pats’ choice — barring a monster trade offer changing their mind. Curran mentions the Giants and Vikings as the teams that could change the Patriots’ mind with a big proposal.

This move would stand to appease ownership, which is taking a more hands-on role during this pre-draft process compared to how things ran under Bill Belichick. Pats ownership seems to carry a “strong preference” Eliot Wolf and Co. leave Round 1 with a quarterback,’s Dan Graziano notes. While rumors of the Pats having Michael Penix Jr. in their back pocket — in the event they trade out of No. 3 — the Washington prospect has since generated buzz about rising into the top 10. That may still be the less likely scenario for the left-hander, but the Pats would be taking a risk if they traded out of No. 3.

The Patriots are believed to, per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, have Daniels rated ahead of Maye — a ranking we first heard about during the Combine — but that may well be a moot point due to the Commanders holding the No. 2 choice. Washington GM Adam Peters and OC Kliff Kingsbury are believed to be high on Daniels, setting up a Patriots Maye-or-J.J. McCarthy call. Washington is not expected to trade down, much to Las Vegas’ chagrin. Any (likely irrelevant) Daniels preference aside, Fowler adds the Pats still like the upside Maye — who, at 21, is two years younger than the reigning Heisman winner — brings to the table.

Maye met with the Patriots, Commanders and Giants and worked out for the Vikings in Minnesota. In the view of the Boston Globe’s Ben Volin, the 6-foot-4 prospect spoke more glowingly of his Giants meeting compared to how things went in Foxborough. Maye also declined to say if he met with Robert Kraft during his visit. The Giants, who hold the No. 6 pick, employ the play-caller in place when Josh Allen‘s ascent began (Brian Daboll). The Patriots are in transition, with Alex Van Pelt set to work as a regular play-caller for the first time — save for a 2020 Browns-Steelers wild-card game Kevin Stefanski missed due to COVID-19 — in 15 years.

The Giants and Vikings have a vested interest in how the Patriots proceed. The tide has either turned for the Giants in their Maye-or-McCarthy preference, or an elaborate smokescreen operation is afoot. Maye-Giants connections have continued to come out of New York, and’s Jordan Raanan furthers them by offering that the recent Tar Heels standout is indeed the QB — among the options expected to be within their reach — the team covets.

That said, McCarthy chimed in (during an appearance on the Rich Eisen Show) by saying he spent more time with the Giants than any other team during the run-up to the draft. The Michigan prospect joins Maye in receiving intense scrutiny, and while he was more closely tied to the Giants weeks ago, the Broncos have been linked to him more recently. It would be costly for Denver to move up from No. 12 for McCarthy or Maye, though it is interesting Sean Payton‘s team has been more closely tied to the former given the recent rumors tying the latter to New York and Minnesota.

Sitting at Nos. 4 and 5, the Cardinals and Chargers have discussed terms with QB-needy teams residing outside the top three. How the Pats proceed will crystallize the value of those choices. Maye being off the board at 3 could weaken the positions of Arizona and Los Angeles, and hours away from the draft, it looks like that will be the case.

More Bill Belichick Fallout: Kraft, Falcons, Eagles, Cowboys, Giants, Commanders

Plenty has emerged in the wake of Bill Belichick going from eight-time Super Bowl champion to unemployed, but as the legendary coach regroups, some additional information about what went down in Atlanta — along with other teams’ coaching searches — has come to light.

Connecting some dots based on what has previously come out this offseason,’s Don Van Natta, Seth Wickersham and Jeremy Fowler report in an expansive piece that Falcons execs dissuaded Arthur Blank from hiring Belichick and Robert Kraft played a major role in the process that ended up veering away from an overqualified candidate who had initially appeared the favorite for the job Raheem Morris now has.

On the morning of the day Morris became the pick, Belichick still viewed himself as likely to land the job. Blank confirmed the 24-year Patriots HC did not ask him for personnel control, but power brokering — given Belichick’s outsized influence and experience — is believed to have still gone down in Atlanta’s front office. As a result, Belichick felt “blindsided” by the Morris hire.

CEO Rich McKay and GM Terry Fontenot did not want to work with Belichick, according to ESPN, which adds the six-time Super Bowl-winning HC was willing to work with the fourth-year GM (while confirming he and McKay’s less-than-stellar relationship). A previous report pointed to Belichick’s concern with Fontenot and the Falcons’ overall power structure. Fontenot, McKay and Falcons president Greg Beadles were part of the Falcons’ second Belichick interview.

Going so far as to reveal Falcons brass’ final rankings for the HC job, Fowler, Van Natta and Wickersham indicate Belichick did not finish in the top three for the Atlanta position. Beyond unanimous top choice Morris, Mike Macdonald and Texans OC Bobby Slowik respectively slotted second and third in this process.

Kraft is believed to have played a role in Blank backing off his initial hope to hire Belichick. A conversation between Blank and his longtime friend came after the Jan. 15 Blank-Belichick yacht meeting, and ESPN reports the Patriots owner warned the Falcons boss not to trust the accomplished HC.

Seeing as this comes during an offseason that has seen more information come out — via the much-discussed The Dynasty series — about Kraft’s issues with Belichick, it is hardly surprising the longtime Pats owner would provide such a warning. Robert Kraft, who considered ousting Belichick after 2022 (before son Jonathan Kraft advised against), referred to Belichick as “very, very, very arrogant, per ESPN. A Robert Kraft spokesman denied the owner, who was naturally complimentary of the game’s second-winningest HC upon the January separation, disparaged Belichick to Blank.

Belichick had already assembled a coaching staff, with some familiar names indeed believed to be part of it. Beyond plans to bring Josh McDaniels, Matt Patricia and Joe Judge aboard, former Texans VP (and Patriots staffer) Jack Easterby was on the radar to be part of a Belichick Atlanta staff. Falcons execs expressed reservations about this staff, with ESPN adding Blank also questioned why this group failed elsewhere. Belichick reportedly responded by saying this group was comprised of “better soldiers than generals.” Judge has since joined Lane Kiffin’s Ole Miss staff. The Texans moved on from Easterby in 2022.

New Commanders GM Adam Peters, a Patriots scout in the 2000s, discussed the HC position with Belichick. Minority owner Magic Johnson pushed for Washington to hire the Maryland native, but Josh Harris — who spoke to Kraft about Belichick in December — had decided he would not make that move. We had heard previously the NBA and NHL owner wanted a more collaborative approach, which many current NFL owners prefer, rather than handing the keys to one person. With Harris wanting a front office-oriented leadership structure, Peters has final say on Commanders football matters. Belichick was not interested in the Chargers.

The three other NFC East HC jobs may well be open in 2025, and ESPN notes Belichick would be interested in the Cowboys, Eagles and Giants positions — should they open up. The Eagles did work on Belichick before determining Nick Sirianni would stay, with Jeffrey Lurie and Howie Roseman viewed as fans of the future Hall of Famer, and the former has been close with Jerry Jones for many years. Lurie looks to have joined the Falcons in expressing hesitancy in greenlighting a Belichick move that would bring major changes while qualifying as a short-term fix.

Belichick, who turned 72 on Tuesday, is now six years older than the oldest HC ever hired (Bruce Arians). Any team that considers a 2025 hire would be adding someone who will turn 73 before coaching his next NFL game.

A Belichick confidant also expressed doubt the former Giants DC would earn another HC job unless Jones signs off on a Cowboys hire. Mike McCarthy‘s lame-duck status will keep Belichick rumors going, it would seem, but for now, a TV gig appears in the works. Belichick is expected to join Peyton Manning‘s Omaha Productions for analysis-based work. ESPN’s Pat McAfee also announced Belichick will be part of his show’s draft coverage (video link).

Fifteen wins shy of Don Shula‘s career record, Belichick is believed to have informed allies he expects to land at least one interview next year. While the NFC East jobs are worth monitoring, the bumps the Patriot Way has taken — coupled with Belichick’s age and implied threat to organizations’ status quos — leave it far from certain he will have a third opportunity to lead an NFL team.

Latest On Patriots Front Office Hierarchy, Draft Plans

Since moving on from Bill Belichick, the Patriots have been operating without an official GM. Eliot Wolf reportedly has final say over personnel decisions, leading many to assume that the director of scouting was New England’s de facto general manager.

As Doug Kyed and Andrew Callahan of the Boston Herald pass along, Wolf will retain his current title until after the draft, at which time owner Robert Kraft will consider a potential promotion. The owner has reportedly “received positive feedback” on Wolf, making the executive the favorite to land the top front office job.

“I’m excited with what I’ve seen so far, and we’ll evaluate after the draft and see how that’s gone and decide where we go from there,” Kraft said (via the Herald).

The son of Hall of Fame executive Ron Wolf, Eliot Wolf spent more than a decade in Green Bay’s front office to begin his career. He joined the Patriots in 2020 and quickly earned a promotion to his current gig. Once the Patriots/Belichick divorce was official, Wolf participated in head coaching interviews before helping Jerod Mayo fill out his staff.

As Kyed and Callahan note, the Patriots have never had an official “general manager” since Kraft took over ownership of the organization. That was partly due to Belichick’s control over the roster, although the Patriots did employ high-ranking officials like “vice president of player personnel” and “director of player personnel.” Kraft may follow a similar route this time around, although there’s not a better time to pivot to the more traditional front office hierarchy in a post-Belichick era.

Before the organization figures out official roles for the front office, the Patriots will be focused on the draft…particularly their third-overall pick. There have been conflicting reports about the selection’s availability via trade, but it’s generally believed that New England will consider offers for the pick.

If the team does make a trade, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe says the team is still likely to select a quarterback in the draft. Moving back would surely take the Patriots out of range for a top-tier QB, but the team would still have plenty of opportunities to select someone at the position (including at their No. 34 pick).

Speaking of the top-tier quarterbacks, there were some rumblings that the Patriots weren’t enamored with UNC’s Drake Maye. However, Jeff Howe of The Athletic reports that the Patriots will attend the prospect’s pro day tomorrow, and Mayo all but confirmed the team’s interest in Maye while speaking with reporters the other day.

“Drake Maye had a fantastic interview at the combine. He brings a lot of energy. You can tell he has that leadership ability,” Mayo said (via Reiss). “Also the exciting part about a guy like Drake Maye, there is really no ceiling with a guy like that. In saying that, when we’re trying to put together this roster, I know a lot of people look at the ceiling. But you also have to look at how low is the floor. I would say a guy like Drake Maye – he has a lot of room to grow. He’s a young guy. Honestly, he hasn’t played football nearly as much as these other guys. So that’s definitely something we’ve looked at, but he’s definitely going to develop.”

The Patriots have already brought in Jacoby Brissett to keep the QB seat warm, so New England is clearly intent on bringing a rookie QB along slowly. That much is known…it remains to be seen which rookie QB (and which rookie QB tier) the organization will ultimately land on.

Bill Belichick Fallout: Falcons, GM Power, Morris, Eagles, Cowboys, Patriots, QBs, Kraft

This coaching carousel’s music has stopped with Bill Belichick and Mike Vrabel on the outside looking in. While Vrabel’s prospects of returning to the league figure to remain strong, Belichick’s age — and the developments during this year’s hiring period — inject uncertainty into his prospects of landing another NFL HC job.

No coach in Belichick’s age range has landed a job, with Bruce Arians (66) being the oldest HC hire. Belichick’s age (72 in April) was naturally a factor for the Falcons, who interviewed him twice. But a degree of territory protecting appears to have transpired as well.

Arthur Blank indeed wanted to hire Belichick this year,’s Albert Breer notes, adding that some around the longtime Falcons owner swayed him. Belichick loomed as the early favorite, but after the team expanded its search (including Vrabel and Jim Harbaugh) following his second interview, it signaled a different candidate would be hired. The Falcons hired Raheem Morris, whom’s Adam Schefter notes has a five-year contract.

Morris remained popular with Falcons players, though the bulk of the cogs from his season as interim coach are gone. Had Belichick been hired by the Falcons, CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones notes an organizational “groundshake” — on both the football and business sides — would have taken place. Staffers being concerned about losing their jobs or seeing their roles change dramatically is understandable, and this appears to be a key part of why Belichick is not currently assembling a staff in Atlanta.

Blank and Falcons CEO Rich McKay ran the team’s coaching search, with a team announcement indicating GM Terry Fontenot would provide input. This would suggest a vulnerability regarding the fourth-year GM’s status, but McKay assured following the Arthur Smith firing that was not the case. The Morris hire effectively keeps Fontenot in good standing, and although the Falcons have said the GM will now report to ownership — with McKay being kicked to the business side — The Athletic’s Jeff Howe indicates the latter does not have a good relationship with Belichick (subscription required).

A Belichick arrival would have undoubtedly meant a reduced Fontenot and potentially affected McKay’s, though given the latter’s 21-year tenure with the Falcons, Blank should not have been expected to dismiss his former GM to appease Belichick. Blank remains loyal to McKay, per’s Charles Robinson, who adds McKay’s longstanding relationship with Morris — whom he hired as a quality control assistant in Tampa during his run as Buccaneers GM — played a role in the Rams DC being hired.

Although a coach with Belichick’s credentials being shut out during this year’s cycle points to front office staffers being concerned about job security, it is also believed certain demands from the six-time Super Bowl-winning HC were set to ensue. Belichick and Blank are not believed to have discussed who would hold final say on personnel matters, but Robinson adds the coaching icon believed had he taken the job the Atlanta football ops would need to run through him. Shortly before the Belichick-Patriots separation, the 24-year New England HC expressed a willingness to relinquish some authority to stay. It does not appear that entailed a true commitment to change.

Had Robert Kraft believed Belichick would have been more open to changes — from his front office to philosophy to roster construction — Howe adds the owner would have been more inclined to keep him onboard for the 2024 season. Belichick’s Patriots contract ran through 2024, but Kraft followed through with a long-rumored plan to move on. The contract he authorized for Jerod Mayo in 2023 led to the assistant being quickly promoted.

The post-Tom Brady years in New England have also played an obvious role in Belichick’s extended status as a coaching free agent. Belichick’s handling of his quarterback position following Brady’s 2020 exit has also impacted teams’ view of him, Howe adds, with Mac Jones‘ swoon serving as the crux of this concern. Belichick crafted a bizarre plan to shift Matt Patricia to the offensive side, where he called plays in 2022.

This season brought a significant downturn for Jones, who finished behind only Ja’Marr Chase in Offensive Rookie of the Year voting. Jones’ regression continued, under a third OC in three years (Bill O’Brien), and his NFL future is suddenly cloudy. Belichick demoted Jones to his third-string quarterback in Week 18, with’s Mike Reiss indicating poor scout-team work leading up to that contest prompted the departing HC to make that move. This marked the final chapter in a steadily deteriorating relationship between Belichick and the passer he chose 15th overall three years ago.

Belichick’s comments regarding Jones — before his 2023 freefall — have also confused some execs around the league, Howe adds. Had Belichick kept his Patriots job,’s Dan Graziano offers that he would have been expected to target a veteran quarterback this offseason. Belichick’s only Patriot-years season with a veteran option featured Cam Newton in 2020; the diminished MVP became a one-and-done in New England. Newton’s limitations in 2020 led to the Jones investment. It will now be on Mayo, and however the Patriots go about restructuring their front office, to solve this latest QB problem.

Belichick the coach continued to churn out stingy defenses, even without key pieces this season, but his GM work left the Patriots with one of the NFL’s worst rosters. Belichick’s personnel acumen previously equipped the Brady-led teams with a number of undervalued gems, aiding the Super Bowl runs. But the near-50-year NFL staffer’s standing has undeniably fallen. Only the Falcons and Commanders are believed to have spoken with Belichick about their HC jobs.

The Eagles and Cowboys, however, may be teams to monitor for the 2025 cycle — one that could conceivably be Belichick’s last chance to land another HC job. Both teams considered Belichick last month, but each NFC East power retained its embattled coach.

The Eagles retained Nick Sirianni, but had the Super Bowl HC not agreed to certain demands regarding his coordinators, the Boston Sports Journal’s Greg Bedard indicated during an appearance on 98.5’s Felger and Mazz (h/t Bleacher Report) a Belichick-to-Philly path is believed to have been viable for 2024. The Eagles likely joined the Falcons in making backchannel contact pertaining to a potential Belichick pursuit, Bedard notes. Unlike Doug Pederson in 2021, Sirianni did fire coordinators. It is safe to place Sirianni, his 3-for-3 rate at leading the Eagles to the playoffs, on a hot seat.

Bedard noted the Eagles were “very interested” in Belichick, pointing to this connection remaining a storyline should Sirianni struggle to reassert himself this season. The Eagles would almost definitely not hand final personnel say to Belichick, given Howie Roseman‘s track record (the 2015 Chip Kelly-driven demotion notwithstanding). That would make this fit interesting, but were Belichick to spend his first season away from the NFL since 1974, it stands to reason he would go into the 2025 hiring period with reduced requests regarding the personnel side.

Jerry Jones also made headlines by saying he could work with Belichick, saying (via Yahoo’s Jori Epstein) there is “no doubt” he could coexist with the towering sideline presence. Jones openly saying he’d be fine with another (more accomplished) coach than is own is telling, but Mike McCarthy remains in place for a fifth season. The Cowboys are not extending McCarthy’s contract, making him the rare lame-duck HC in the modern NFL. This will naturally keep Belichick on the Dallas radar. How Belichick would navigate a setup in which ownership runs the personnel would be interesting, though Jones did cede more power to Belichick mentor Bill Parcells during the latter’s four-year stay in the 2000s.

As for this season, Jonathan Jones points to Belichick taking a TV job as the most likely 2024 path. The 29-year HC veteran was planning to be selective about a third HC destination, with Jones adding the goal will remain for personnel power to be involved in a 2025 pursuit. The clock is ticking on that front, with only four coaches in NFL history coaching a game beyond age 71.

Although Belichick’s football knowledge will obviously far surpass anyone he attempts to work with moving forward, the Patriots’ post-Brady years — along with potential consequences for in-house staffers on HC-needy teams — have him in the penalty box for now. With no retirement plans, Belichick’s potential re-emergence in 2025 will be a major NFL storyline over the next several months.

Patriots Notes: Kraft, Mayo, Caserio

Following a 24-year partnership, the Patriots and Bill Belichick mutually decided to part ways today. While the divorce didn’t necessarily come as a surprise, the organization’s handling of the separation raised some eyebrows.

[RELATED: Patriots, Bill Belichick To Part Ways]

Leading up to today’s announcement, there were rumblings that a number of teams would have interest in adding Belichick. Considering the iconic head coach was still under contract for another year, there was some speculation that the Patriots may try to squeeze compensation out of any suitors. However, much like how Robert Kraft handled the Tom Brady divorce, the owner thought his head coach deserved to pursue whatever opportunity he wanted.

“I didn’t think it was right for Tom Brady, who gave us 20 years, and I don’t think it’s right for Bill,” Kraft told reporters (via NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero).

There was a recent sentiment from some within the organization that Belichick hadn’t “lost his fastball” from a coaching perspective. Instead, many were questioning Belichick’s personnel decisions, whether it was regarding the draft, free agency, and even some of his coaching hires. That led some to wonder if Belichick would willingly cede personnel authority in order to stick around New England as head coach.

However, while Kraft acknowledged that he thought of such an arrangement, he never believed it would work. The owner told reporters that such a move would “create confusion with accountability” (as Jeff Howe of The Athletic passes along).

Belichick’s exit creates a vacancy on both the sideline and the front office. A number of Patriots-related coaches have been connected to the HC gig; former players Jerod Mayo and Mike Vrabel are both considered major contenders to take over. In fact, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport passes along that Mayo’s recent deal with the organization includes a “firm, contractual succession plan,” details that were passed along to the NFL. While the Patriots have no obligation to name Mayo as their next head coach, Rapoport notes that the organization doesn’t have to go through the hiring process if Mayo is indeed the choice.

Naturally, the same logic is being used with the front office, but one familiar face doesn’t have interest in a reunion. Ben Volin of the Boston Globe recently passed along that the Patriots could be eyeing former director of player personnel Nick Caserio to lead their front office. However, the current Texans general manager denied the rumors during a recent appearance on Sports Radio 610.

“Whoever these reporters are that make these ridiculous statements, maybe you want to talk to me about it first before putting information out there that has zero basis,” Caserio said during the appearance (via Tyler Milner of Sports Radio 610).

Bill Belichick Willing To Relinquish Patriots Personnel Authority

While a number of head coach-needy teams are starting to line up for Bill Belichick‘s services, there hasn’t been any word about the coach’s status in New England. While both sides could still be heading towards a divorce, it sounds like the iconic head coach is at least willing to make concessions to stick with the Patriots.

While speaking to reporters following yesterday’s regular season finale, Belichick admitted that he’d consider giving up his personnel authority.

“Look, I’m for whatever we collectively decide as an organization is the best thing to help our football team,” Belichick said (via ESPN’s Mike Reiss). “I have multiple roles in that, and I rely on a lot of people to help me in those responsibilities; somebody has to have the final say. Whatever that process is, I’m only part of it.”

When asked about his job status and whether he’d be staying with the organization, Belichick pointed out that he’s still “under contract” and will continue to operate as he always does. When asked if owner Robert Kraft has given any indication if he’ll be back next season, Belichick responded in typical fashion.

“I learned [a] lesson from my dad growing up — you work for the team that you’re working for and do the best you can for it, until somebody tells you different. So that’s not going to change,” he said.

There’s been a recent sentiment that Belichick “hasn’t lost his fastball” on the sideline, with most of the criticism focused on his lack of success with recent personnel decisions. Over the past 10 seasons, the Patriots have drafted only three players who eventually earned Pro Bowl nods (guard Joe Thuney, punter Jake Bailey, and quarterback Mac Jones), and the team’s spending spree during the 2021 offseason has led to mixed results.

Belichick’s personnel decisions go beyond the players on the field. The coach was criticized for his handling of Josh McDaniels‘ departure last season, with Belichick curiously opting for a former defensive coordinator (Matt Patricia) and former special teams coordinator (Joe Judge) to guide his offense. The results were disastrous, leading Kraft to request that Belichick add former OC Bill O’Brien to the staff. While Belichick obliged, he didn’t provide O’Brien with much freedom to run the operation, leading to tension on the coaching staff throughout the 2023 campaign. That lack of coaching consistency has also had a major impact on Jones, who has taken major steps backwards in each of the past two seasons.

It was uncertain if Belichick would be willing to continue coaching in New England while relinquishing his GM duties, and that willingness could play a big role in him ultimately sticking with the organization. Belichick was set to meet with Kraft today and discuss the team’s lack of success in 2023, but that meeting was never expected to lead to a Black Monday ouster. In fact, Jason La Canfora of the Washington Post suggests that the two sides could meet “multiple times” as they determine the best path forward.

For what it’s worth, Belichick refused to discuss a hypothetical where he’d join another team, but we’re already hearing rumblings that rival teams are ready to pounce. Just over the past few days, we’ve heard Belichick connected to the Raiders, Falcons, Commanders, and Panthers.

Bill Belichick-Patriots Separation Likely To Take Weeks To Finalize

The expectation around the NFL still points to the Patriots having a non-Bill Belichick HC for the first time since 1999, but Robert Kraft has kept his cards close to the vest. A process that likely will involve trade talks is not expected to be finalized especially soon.

Kraft has kept Belichick in the dark about his future, according to the Boston Globe’s Ben Volin, who indicates the two are scheduled to meet Monday. While owner-HC meetings the day after the regular season ends drove the term “Black Monday” into existence in the NFL, Volin adds the expectation will be for Kraft and Belichick to meet multiple times over the ensuing several weeks before finality arrives.

Belichick has sufficient credentials to avoid a Black Monday ouster, and the Patriots have long been expected to be aiming at avoiding an outright firing. It may come to that, as it is possible Belichick will not want to accept any additional power stripped — like a GM coming in to work alongside him — and would seek to be fired in order to be part of the coaching carousel on time. A drawn-out divorce would affect Belichick’s ability to land with another team. HC-needy teams can begin interviewing candidates on other staffs after the divisional round.

Kraft’s silence could point to demands from Belichick, Volin offers, in an attempt to salvage the situation. Kraft has famously intervened on multiple occasions in recent years, most notably in the Jimmy Garoppolo trade, and the longtime owner solidified Jerod Mayo‘s place on Belichick’s staff with an extension this past offseason. Belichick giving into more demands from Kraft would not be ideal for the 24-year Patriots HC, but if there is not a strong market for his services, that would seemingly be an option the future Hall of Famer considers.

As of late December, Belichick wanted to stay in New England and was not planning to resign. Doing so would be a costly move with another season of top-tier coaching money on the table in the event he stays on for a 25th season or is fired. The longer he remains in limbo with the Patriots, the longer other teams move on to other HC candidates.

Mayo resides the front of the line to replace Belichick, per’s Albert Breer, who notes the extension he signed this offseason — after a conversation with Kraft led to the linebackers coach turning down a chance to interview for the Panthers’ HC job — parallels Belichick’s in running through 2024. A former Patriots linebacker who has been on Belichick’s staff for five seasons, Mayo would become the NFL’s second-youngest active HC if hired; at 37, Mayo is two months younger than Sean McVay.

Kraft’s intervention with Mayo does point to the longtime Boston-area resident being a serious candidate, and going in that direction would be rather interesting. It would ensure continuity but also keep the Belichick pipeline flowing, just without Belichick. On that note, Volin adds a Brian Flores return has also generated some buzz. Flores made his mark as a Belichick assistant for over a decade, finishing that 11-year run as the de facto defensive coordinator for a Patriots team that held the Rams without a touchdown in Super Bowl LIII. Flores, 42, is finishing up his first season as the Vikings’ DC.

With Flores and Mike Vrabel being on the radar — Volin still lists the Titans’ HC as the Pats “home run” hire, though it would take a notable trade package to pry him from the Titans — signs point to Kraft preferring someone familiar with the Patriot Way rather than a true outsider. An overhaul would make sense given the shadow Belichick casts, but a transition to a current or former assistant would be smoother. As for Vrabel, he reaffirmed his commitment to the Titans. But the Patriots are believed to be monitoring that situation, which has involved rumors of discord between Vrabel and rookie GM Ran Carthon.

Flores returning to Foxborough would also be interesting due to his discrimination lawsuit including a text from Belichick believing Flores would be the Giants’ HC hire in 2022. Belichick later said he misunderstood the situation, as another of his former assistants — Brian Daboll — became New York’s hire. Flores also backed out of the Cardinals’ interview process last year. The lawsuit has not impeded the former Dolphins HC’s career, and it would not surprise to see multiple teams reach out about their HC vacancy this coming offseason.

A Mayo promotion or Flores return would assuredly also come with Kraft hiring either a true GM or someone with similar responsibilities. It also is worth wondering if another organization would give Belichick GM power. While the Panthers and perhaps another NFC South team have interest in the NFL sideline staple, his recent run as the Pats’ de facto GM is largely responsible for their swoon. GM power — be it with the Pats or another team, possibly the Chargers — will be part of this equation, but the drama here looks likely to last for a bit.

Latest On Patriots, Bill Belichick

Prior to pushing the Bills in Week 17, the Patriots derailed the Broncos to bring a simmering Russell Wilson storyline to the surface. Reported to be heading toward a Bill Belichick divorce, the Patriots have a rather important decision to make in the coming days.

Robert Kraft is believed to want to avoid firing his six-time Super Bowl-winning head coach, leading to rampant trade speculation. A trade would complicate matters for all parties, placing Belichick in limbo in an age range in which no head coach has ever landed a job. The 71-year-old HC/de facto GM’s accomplishments obviously lap every other candidate on the 2024 carousel, but the topic of Belichick the GM will be a component in Pats talks with other teams — assuming those transpire.

[RELATED: Will Chargers Pursue Belichick In Trade?]

As of Sunday, however, Belichick and Kraft are not believed to have discussed plans beyond this season, per’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero, who report a scenario still exists in which the longtime HC stays with the Patriots for a 25th season.

Belichick, who will turn 72 in April, is not planning to retire. Eager to break Don Shula‘s record for career wins (347), Belichick is 14 behind the Hall of Famer. Because of the Pats’ 2023 struggles, the 2024 season does not represent a realistic window for that record to change hands. The ’25 season probably does, but Belichick’s status is certainly up in the air for that season. He is believed to be under contract through the ’24 season, but not much has emerged indicating which way this will go in recent days.

The prospect of Belichick ceding personnel power to another voice in New England’s building is worth discussing, as the Patriots do not have an upper-echelon roster. Draft mistakes have left the team, on offense in particular, with glaring deficiencies. Belichick’s defensive acumen has helped the Pats compensate for the losses of Matt Judon and Christian Gonzalez, but the team has made errors in assembling its roster since its Super Bowl LIII win. As for Belichick focusing on an HC-only role with the Pats,’s Albert Breer is not of the belief that will be a workable scenario for someone who has held full control during his second stint with the organization.

Kraft could be put to a seminal test soon, and the fast-paced nature of the HC carousel will be an issue for any team interested in Belichick as well. The Patriots are unlikely to fetch a first-round pick for Belichick. No team has ever hired a head coach older than 66, and the Belichick-as-GM element will undoubtedly be an issue for clubs interested in acquiring him as a head coach. If Belichick wants to continue as an NFL HC, he might need to agree to a high-level personnel exec either joining the Patriots or working alongside such a staffer in another city.

Linked on numerous occasions to playing a key role in the Jimmy Garoppolo trade six years ago, Kraft does not want a Belichick divorce to remind of Tom Brady‘s departure in free agency, per Rapoport and Pelissero, who note the longtime owner has consulted with many about how to proceed here. A firing is not viewed as likely.

Although Belichick is not believed to want to leave Foxborough, he would presumably want freedom to either seek a trade or become a coaching free agent if Kraft determines his time is up in New England. It remains to be seen how the owner will play this, and we would seem to be days away from finding out.