As the end of the 2023 season nears, and Bill Belichick's future with the Patriots remains a topic of interest, it seems like nearly every team in the league that could potentially be in the market for a new head coach is entering the sweepstakes.
Rumors have circulated connecting Belichick to the Chargers, Commanders, and even the Giants, and now a new team has been added to the fold: the Carolina Panthers. Team owner David Tepper fired Frank Reich after the Panthers' latest loss in Week 12, despite hiring him during this past offseason. They become the first team in need of a new head coach for 2024, prompting the possibility that Belichick could move down South to coach a new team next year.
But up until now, most of the conversation has been pure speculation, as clearly he is still employed by New England. On top of that, we know that Robert Kraft extended his contract before the start of the season, and although details are limited, it was reported that Belichick had signed a multi-year deal.
Despite that, there is still a belief that the longtime pairing in Foxboro could amicably split during the offseason or even agree to a trade so both parties have fresh starts in 2024. And apparently, the Panthers could be that team, at least according to the Boston Globe's Ben Volin.
In his latest report, Volin suggests that the idea of Carolina being a possible destination for Belichick isn't just an opinion but is actually based on chatter within NFL circles that have recently discussed the idea.
"The Panthers are on the prowl after firing coach Frank Reich, and Belichick makes sense for all kinds of reasons. This isn’t just my opinion; this is based on conversations with league sources who know the coaching market and know Belichick. Keep a close eye on Belichick and Carolina."
Because they have become the first official team in need of a new coach, and Belichick's job security with the Patriots seems in limbo, it's not shocking to hear his name in the mix. But other than the convenience of the connection, there's not much else there that seems to make sense.
It may be a desired destination for some since they just drafted a first-round quarterback in Bryce Young, and the team is in a much smaller market than a place like New England. However, with an apparent impatient owner who has fired three head coaches since buying the team in 2018, no first-round pick in the upcoming draft, and a roster that needs a rebuild, why would Belichick want to take that all on at 72 years old?
If he hasn't appeared to enjoy that process in a place he's been for the last 20+ years, there's no reason to believe he'd move onto somewhere brand new and start the process all over again with a less talented roster, fewer draft picks and less money to spend in free agency.
Unfortunately, these rumors will only increase over the next several weeks or months. Until a definitive answer is provided about Belichick's future in or out of New England, he will continue to be connected to any and all teams that will be involved in a head coaching search this offseason.