The Patriots welcome the Washington Commanders to Gillette Stadium in just a few hours, but there's plenty of news to catch up on before diving head first into Week 9 of the 2023 NFL season.
Commanders reporter puts an end to all the Bill Belichick could be traded to Washington speculation
Among the rumors running rampant in New England recently has been new speculation first thrown out there by ProFootballTalk's Mike Florio. Because he's been known to be wrong once or twice about his reporting, it's not exactly surprising that he's being labeled as such once again with his most recent "not report" regarding Bill Belichick.
The longtime reporter speculated, based on alleged chatter within NFL circles, that the Patriots head coach may be up for trade this upcoming offseason. Florio alleged that the Commanders would be the team expressing the most interest, citing their selling at the trade deadline last week as an indication of their plans to have an overhaul of the franchise next year.
Despite Florio claiming he was told the information from a reliable source, NBC Washington's JP Finlay (who covers the Commanders) spoke to NBC Sports Boston last week to essentially debunk the trade theory, stating it would go against everything that the new team owner Josh Harris has ever done with his sports teams over the years.
"I believe this is Patriots fan fiction. Because I don't think anybody up there thinks they should get rid of Bill because of everything he's accomplished. But this is your out. If somebody trades for Bill and it helps the organization, and Bill wants to go, and I know he grew up in Annapolis, and I know he belongs to some nice golf courses here in the D.C. area. This lets Pats fans feel happy about starting their next chapter.
Here's why it's not going to happen. It would be completely opposite of how (Commanders owner) Josh Harris has run his other sports teams, where he hires a football boss and lets him make the decisions. It's what he did in hoops; it's what he did in hockey with the Devils. They are about building and analytics, and I imagine the trends in the NFL are young offensive guys. I can't say definitively this will not happen, but I don't see it happening."
It may seem like a he said, he said ordeal at the moment since it's really Florio's word vs. Finlay's, but there hasn't been any hint that Robert Kraft was thinking of moving on from Belichick any time soon, nevermind trading him away to another team. On top of that, Belichick would have to finalize his own trade because he is the Patriots' general manager.
It's not entirely impossible, like Finlay said. However, that's a lot of ducks that would need to be in a row to have something very uncommon in the NFL to happen, and we haven't gotten any signs that it's the path either team is heading in.