Besides the continued criticism of the Patriots' 2023 season, one of the other main headline-making topics throughout the last 14 weeks has been surrounding Bill Belichick's job security and the uncomfortable decisions that Robert Kraft may need to make this offseason.
The speculation kicked into high gear this week when NBC Sports Boston's Tom Curran claimed sources had indicated to him that the decision to fire the head coach at the end of the year was made a handful of weeks ago, meaning the last four games of the season will also be Belichick's final games coaching in Foxboro.
Although it remains just a rumor, it has been a debated conclusion once it was made clear that the Patriots will not be a competitive team this season. That has been the biggest issue over the last four seasons, and now that they're facing their worst record in more than two decades, Belichick's position as the team's head coach and general manager is being questioned even more harshly with every passing day.
Because of that, more gossip keeps filtering out about Belichick's possible fate and what moves the Krafts are considering as the offseason nears.
Rumor #1: Bill Belichick wasn't fired midseason because he's still considered an asset
With the Patriots' woes stacking up as the season progressed, demands for Belichick's midseason firing began to get louder. Many couldn't fathom the idea that Kraft would keep him in the position after struggling to accomplish much of anything for a fourth straight season.
Despite all he has accomplished, many felt it was time to move on from the tenured head coach, and his performance since Tom Brady left was more than enough proof that his time had come. That became even clearer this season as the offense was an absolute mess, and the defense would not be able to do the entire job of the team in hopes they could scrape out more wins.
All of that may be true, but this isn't just any random head coach we're talking about. Even if Belichick has had a questionable and frustrating few seasons, he's not a guy you fire midseason. Other than being a tricky decision for any team to consider, Kraft is very well aware of how much Belichick has helped bring to his team, and given all his accomplishments and years with the organization, an outright firing during the year was not at all considered.
That's a point Tom Curran shared on "Arbella Early Edition” earlier this week before his most recent rumor broke the internet.
"The main one being, you don’t fire Bill Belichick during the season. It’s just not going to happen. Additionally, though, he’s an asset. He’s under contract for another year, which we reported after NFL Media reported there was a long-term extension in place that would keep Bill locked up long-term. It’s only through next year. So, that would not be an impediment to them changing course."
His contract extension only being for another year doesn't necessarily indicate an impending change, but it does seem more likely now than when the news initially broke about Belichick being kept long-term.
It does make sense to keep him on through the end of the season, though, because he is likely still viewed as a top head coach candidate to teams in need of one for next year. Kraft can use that to his advantage in hopes he can trade Belichick for some sort of compensation, which will be a bonus heading into a critical offseason.