The bombshell reports regarding the inner workings of the New England Patriots keep coming, as a new piece for ESPN was published last week, co-authored by infamous journalist Seth Wickersham. The latest report comes just days after the Boston Herald published an all-revealing piece exposing the chaos behind the scenes in Foxboro, painting a much uglier picture of what was thought to be a good pairing between Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft.
Adding to the barrage of exposés this month, Wickersham and Co. go even further behind the curtain, describing the dysfunction at Gillette stemming back to the years when Tom Brady was still on the team.
Within all the fascinating information, whether entirely accurate or not, were the details surrounding the disagreements about Mac Jones. It is alleged that after a rough 2022 season, Belichick suggested trading the young quarterback to the Krafts, who were uninterested in going through with the move.
"During offseason planning meetings, Belichick later told people in the building, he raised the idea to the Krafts of trading quarterback Mac Jones. The Krafts had embraced Jones after he was drafted in the first round in 2021, hoping to build something close to a Brady-like relationship with him.
Jones played well as a rookie under then-coordinator McDaniels, then regressed in 2022 under Belichick's patchwork offensive staff. Ownership argued against trading him, wanting to see what Jones could do with O'Brien calling plays, which this past week they denied saying through a team spokesperson.
Belichick technically could have traded Jones, but he ceded to his bosses."
The latest report explains a lot about the recent tension in New England
This led to the awkwardness between the head coach and quarterback for much of the offseason, which Belichick made apparent by actively choosing not to even say Jones' name or compliment him for almost anything.
Unfortunately, once the 2023 season began, it was clear Jones looked the same, if not worse than he had the year before, and the offense around him couldn't overcome all of the inefficiencies by the quarterback or themselves.
It eventually led to the assumption that Jones would be benched relatively early in the year, but it appeared to take Belichick a bit longer to get to that point. And apparently (at least, allegedly), there was a reason for that.
According to a "confidant of Belichick," the decision to wait to bench a clearly deteriorating quarterback was "'A f--- you to Kraft'"
Given how long it took for Jones to be benched, this would certainly explain why Belichick seemed to hold off on doing so. But at the same time, Jones was clearly not the only issue with the offense, so perhaps that's also something the coach considered before punishing the quarterback for the entirety of the offensive problems.
Regardless, the idea of a more volatile relationship between Belichick and Kraft is startling to hear about when there wasn't much indication that the ship was sinking. A few disagreements made headlines, like Belichick publicly putting the lack of spending on Kraft. But nothing seemed too unusual to believe it was as bad as Wickersham's article suggests.
It does provide some context for how it got to the point of an amicable split, though.
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