Ex-GM details Belichick's Warren Buffett-like approach to running Pats originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
To buy or to sell? That's the question facing Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots entering next Tuesday's NFL trade deadline, and the answer comes down to one word: value.
Former New York Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum, who worked with Belichick on the 1995 Cleveland Browns and spent years running the Patriots' AFC East rival, joined our Phil Perry on a new Next Pats Podcast to offer insight into how Belichick operates as New England's head coach and de facto general manager.
Tannenbaum sees a parallel between Belichick and one of the most successful businessmen of all time.
"I think one of the reasons they've been so good for so long is, Coach Belichick really looks at running the Patriots a lot like the way Warren Buffett runs his firm at Berkshire Hathaway," Tannenbaum told Perry. "Which is, 'Whatever we believe is going to help us long-term create the most value, we will do that.'"
The Patriots' 2-5 record suggests they could be sellers at the trade deadline, but Tannenbaum believes that reality won't sway Belichick from trying to find value, even if that means giving up assets to bring a player in.
"If they can acquire a player, I don't think they would hesitate," Tannenbaum said. "And inversely, if they get very good value for a player, I think they would consider that as well.
"This season has a long way to go. Seven teams make the playoffs in each conference now. And if I'm New England, I'm probably listening more so than reaching out to acquire players, But surely if they can add a receiver, I think that's something they would consider."
The Patriots have both roster needs to address and potentially tradeable assets. The team could use more depth along the offensive line, more firepower at wide receiver and reinforcements at cornerback, even after acquiring J.C. Jackson earlier this month. On the other end of the spectrum, offensive tackle Trent Brown, edge rusher Josh Uche and wide receiver Kendrick Bourne all are on expiring contracts and could fetch mid-round picks on the open market.
Tannenbaum doesn't see Belichick dealing any of those players, however, in part because of their current value to the team.
"I'd be hard-pressed to trade a good, young, improving pass rusher," Tannenbaum said of Uche. "I'd be working really hard to try to extend him. Again, if somebody offered something way better than a fourth-round pick, I would possibly consider it, but I think those are the types of players you want to be acquiring."
There's an interesting wrinkle in Belichick's approach to the trade deadline, of course: Will he be around to reap the benefits of any long-term value he creates? Our Tom E. Curran reports Belichick's current contract runs through the end of the 2024 season, and if New England continues to struggle this season, it's possible he and the team could part ways before then.
That makes Tuesday's trade deadline -- as well as Sunday's game against the AFC East rival Miami Dolphins -- all the more important. Check out Perry's full conversation with Tannenbaum in the YouTube video below: