Rumor #3: Robert Kraft's original plan was for Bill Belichick to remain as the head coach for at least two more seasons
After the disappointing and frustrating 2022 season for the Patriots, most within the team had an optimistic attitude throughout the offseason about where the team would be at the start of the new league year. Matt Patricia wasn't retained, Joe Judge had been moved to a different position, and the hirings of Adrian Klemm and Bill O'Brien were widely applauded.
The same positivity wasn't felt when it came to the roster, though, as solid contributors like Jakobi Meyers were not re-signed, and the players that were brought in were not the game-changing additions the team desperately needed.
Training camp and preseason went much more smoothly than the previous year, and Mac Jones appeared back on track with how he had performed as a rookie.
Most of that remained apparent once the season began, but it all quickly plummeted as the weeks passed. It prompted questions about Belichick's fitness to remain the head coach for the Patriots, given that roster building and the lack of proper coaching and development of a young quarterback had been one of the most significant blemishes on his resume in recent years.
That has apparently played a big part in Kraft's decision to strongly consider moving on from Belichick, as noted by Dan Graziano.
"Sources close to the Patriots believe Kraft’s plan entering this season was for Belichick to coach two more seasons and have Mayo take over in 2025. Belichick entered the season needing 18 wins to catch Shula for most career victories (regular season and postseason combined) among NFL coaches, and the thought was he could get that done in two seasons.
Entering Week 15, though, Belichick remains 15 wins behind (Don) Shula and the Patriots’ roster issues make it difficult to imagine him getting there anytime soon. The extent to which this season has gone off the rails, sources say, has Kraft rethinking everything."
Seeing him tie or overcome Shula's winning record did seem like a courtesy Kraft was willing to make for Belichick over the next few seasons, but with how the last four years have gone, the Patriots don't seem any closer to accomplishing that feat for the head coach.
What may have been a priority just one year ago doesn't seem like a factor that Kraft will ultimately consider when he is forced to decide the futures of the head coach and the team.