Alleged turmoil between Patriots Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft just got worse

Super Bowl LI - New England Patriots v Atlanta Falcons
Super Bowl LI - New England Patriots v Atlanta Falcons / Jamie Squire/GettyImages

A photo posted by recently retired Patriots safety Devin McCourty caused quite a stir online last week because of who was pictured together in the post.

McCourty posted the selfie of Tom Brady, Mac Jones, and himself to his Instagram page without a caption, leading many to question where and when the three met and what their conversations may have been about, particularly between the two quarterbacks.

That's where the rumors begin.

Adding to the continued narrative regarding the alleged deteriorating relationship between head coach Bill Belichick and team owner Robert Kraft, The Boston Globe's Ben Volin had much to say about the viral image.

In an article published nearly a week after McCourty made the post, Volin dove into the rumored details of how the trio were at the same place at the same time.

After some digging, Volin suggested the photo was taken at Kraft's annual summer bash, which he knew both Brady and McCourty attended. Although he couldn't confirm that Jones was there as well, he did inquire McCourty about where the photo was taken and got a cheeky response from the future Patriots Hall of Famer.

"I asked McCourty on Monday if the photo was taken at Kraft’s party, and he responded, “Details not important lol.”

So let’s take that as a “yes.”"

McCourty refused to provide a detailed answer in typical Patriots form, making Volin's assumption seem entirely valid.

But then he began down the rabbit hole of why Jones would be invited to an event at Kraft's so early on in his NFL career, especially after a mediocre season and his alleged strained relationship with Belichick.

"Two of the invitees are understandable. Brady won six Super Bowls for Kraft and increased the value of his team by billions. McCourty was a 12-year captain who won three Super Bowls. They get seats at the Kraft table for life.

But Jones? Already getting the invite to the Hamptons after two mediocre seasons with the Patriots?"

The relationship between the head coach and quarterback has been widely scrutinized over the last year, with many rumors suggesting that Belichick never wanted to draft Jones in the first place, which created a lot of tension between him and Kraft.

It would explain why there appeared to be continued conflict throughout the 2022 season between Belichick and Jones, on and off the field, and why the coach has seemingly refused to name him the starting quarterback on multiple occasions in recent months.

Volin believes Jones' invite to Kraft's party could indicate the current state of his relationship with Belichick, as he knows more than anyone how he feels about the third-year player continuing as the QB1.

But is it really that deep?

We know the Kraft's have stood by Jones throughout the last two seasons, with a lot of their support coming from his highly critiqued performance in 2022. But we also know that Belichick hasn't shown nearly the same support, making most believe even more they're not all on the same page.

That's where things get a little dicey, at least according to Volin.

"Why would the Krafts already make Jones Their Guy despite him having accomplished so little? One answer could be that the Krafts want Jones to succeed to help their own legacy.

For all the talk about how winning one more Super Bowl could fill the final hole in Belichick’s résumé — to silence the “He only won with Brady” detractors — the same dynamic is at play for the Patriots owners.

.... So they are invested in Jones succeeding. Belichick, meanwhile, barely wants to say Jones’s name in public."

It's certainly plausible that this is what is going on, and at the end of the day, the Krafts are just trying to save their reputations. And Belichick as well, just in a different way.

But if this really is the story behind it all, what could be the long-term consequences for the Patriots organization?

It's not entirely wrong for an owner to openly support the quarterback, so that's not surprising. But if it's coming at the expense of the head coach, that could lead to more significant problems.

At this point, as it always is until someone involved directly says it, this is all speculation and just adds more drama to an offseason that has been full of it. Hopefully, no matter what is actually going on, it can all be settled before the start of the regular season, or the year may be doomed before it even begins.