Retired New England Patriots legend Rob Gronkowski raised eyebrows when he recently said he thought head coach Bill Belichick would “return” to the organization for another season.
Perhaps it was wishful thinking.
According to Darren Hartwell from NBC Sports Boston well-known Patriots insider Tom E. Curran reported during an appearance on NBC Sports Boston's “Arbella Early Edition” that team owner Robert Kraft made the final decision to part ways with Belichick following the club's 10-6 loss to the Indianapolis Colts in Germany 12th November.
“When they left Germany, it was clear from the conversations I had this week that a decision had been made,” Curran explained. “They were supposed to play on a string, and at the end of the year, for various reasons, there would be a breakup.”
Although Belichick led the Patriots to six Super Bowl championships during his tenure, this did not happen earned single playoff win since quarterback Tom Brady left the team as a free agent following the 2019 season. Additionally, Belichick's inability to acquire or develop a long-term replacement for Brady is a major reason New England will miss the postseason for the third time in four years .
“Even if they win, they have seven wins in the offseason and the trend will be going in the wrong direction,” Patriots insider Phil Perry added during this segment on the New England-Belichick relationship. “And it doesn't erase all personal mistakes [Curran] and what I have been talking about here for a long time. So I'm sure the Krafts are looking at that and also looking at this offseason and all the space they have and what looks like they could be a top three pick in the draft, and it would be fair of them to ask : “Is Bill Belichick the right guy to lead us through the offseason into 2024 and beyond?”
Belichick has reportedly signed a contract through the 2024 season, there has been no indication he will leave this winter, and he has been linked to several teams that are either already looking for new head coaches or will be looking for them soon. Curran said Belichick's contract “will not be a hindrance [the Patriots] change course,” suggesting that Kraft cannot attempt to move the 71-year-old elsewhere after Week 18 if Belichick defies his next employer by giving up even one draft pick in exchange for his services.
Belichick will then lead the 3-10 Patriots into Sunday's home game against the 8-5 Kansas City Chiefs. Since Tuesday morning chance checker placed New England as a 9.5-point underdog in this matchup.