Latest chatter claims Patriots Bill Belichick has more to worry about this season

Bill Belichick is under a lot of pressure in 2023
Feb 4, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft (left) greets head coach
Feb 4, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft (left) greets head coach / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Nobody loves to create drama and spread rumors about the Patriots more than the Boston media, whether there is any truth to the whispers or not.

The latest speculation has caused quite a stir in New England, and it appears the media is having a field day with the alleged tension between Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft leading to the conclusion that the coach's job may be in jeopardy.

It's no secret how Kraft has felt about the lack of success the Patriots have seen since Tom Brady left three years ago. He's expressed his disappointment publicly and privately. And as the owner of a team, especially a historically successful one, that should be expected.

However, is three years enough time to decide to move on from a legendary head coach?

According to NBC Sports Boston's Tom Curran, the answer looks more like yes.

During an appearance on "The Rich Eisen Show" on Monday, Curran doubled down on the latest rumor regarding Belichick's status with the team heading into the 2023 season, seemingly confirming he is on the hot seat.

"He's on the hot seat. And he's been there at different levels of warmth since 2019."

The more revealing part of that sentence is that Kraft has viewed Belichick with some uncertainty since the 2019 season.

Curran detailed the fallout that summer when Tom Brady likely decided to leave the team, claiming it was before the start of the new season and after he was only offered a two-year contract with a team option in year two.

That's where frustration began to brew between all three men, ultimately leading Brady to leave for Tampa at the season's end and Kraft to feel disappointment over Belichick's handling of the contract to keep the quarterback.

Although not all of that is necessarily new information since there has been a lot of debate about the state of Belichick and Kraft's relationship since Brady's departure, how much it plays into the current state of the team is more of a story.

When discussing what has led to this point, Curran floated the possibility that Kraft will keep Belichick long enough for him to break the all-time wins record by a head coach in NFL history. Currently, he's 19 games shy of passing Don Shula, which obviously will not happen this upcoming season.

"I wonder if Belichick had already passed Shula or wasn't even within inhaling distance of Shula if we would really have this kind of hand-wringing 'what do we do about Bill conversation?'"

After that, Rich Eisen asked how the 2023 season needs to unfold for Belichick not to worry about his job security. And Curran had one word in response; better.

What that entails is subjective, but Kraft has discussed his desire to see the team make the postseason again since they have missed it in two of the last three years, especially winning one. Then the question of the likelihood of that happening comes into play.

Football media has decided the Patriots are basically DOA and should be expected to finish last in the division, clearly missing the playoffs in 2023.

However, according to Curran, Kraft was behind many of the upgrades to the team in the offseason, particularly the hiring of Bill O'Brien, and the lack of urgency to sign DeAndre Hopkins makes it seem the team is satisfied with their offensive roster.

If that's the case, maybe they're in a better situation than what outsiders are willing to admit or at least mention.

So if the Patriots do become contenders and repeat what we saw from them in 2021; what does that mean for Belichick's future?

Curran thinks if they improve and lose games simply because they were outplayed rather than due to mistakes like last year's failed lateral in the Raiders game, Belichick should be safe.

But if things look similar to last year, expect the unexpected.

"If they look disorganized, dysfunctional and discipline's out the window, then they might say, 'That was a great run, but can you go upstairs and just watch Jerod coach next year?'"

The latter of his comment immediately sparked Eisen to follow up, asking if Jerod Mayo will indeed be Belichick's successor.

Curran responded, revealing he believes that's what the Kraft's want to see, hence the memo sent out at the end of last season regarding their efforts to extend Mayo's contract.

Even though that has been a theory since the memo was posted, mainly because the Patriots are not a team known for sharing such information, Eisen asked if the plan for 2023 is to go with the new additions to the team, from coaches and players, with the intention of Belichick being successful with his potential replacement in Mayo being on his staff.

Long-winded, Curran implied that it is, and if the season doesn't go that way, then Kraft would have to act upon his disappointment sooner or later. Because he's shared his dissatisfaction about how the team has done in recent years, contemplating what to do with Belichick won't be off the table.

He stressed there are no harsh feelings between the coach and owner, despite what the constant rumors have suggested throughout this offseason. But deciding what is best for the team moving forward may include letting Belichick go from his head coaching duties.

So how will this transpire during the upcoming season?

Will Belichick feel the pressure?

Will that help him thrive, or will he sink?

Time will tell, and hopefully, we will see him swim because who wants to see another 2022 season this year?