NFL Rumors: Bill Belichick, Mike Tomlin linked to potential coach trades

NFL Rumors: Belichick, Tomlin linked to potential coach trades originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Is this Bill Belichick’s last season in New England?

There’s been nothing firm to suggest otherwise, but NBC Sports analyst Mike Florio dropped some hints on Wednesday in an appearance on 93.7 The Fan.

The ProFootballTalk host was discussing Steelers coach Mike Tomlin’s future – potentially in Carolina – with the Pittsburgh-area hosts before mentioning the Patriots’ head coach.

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“Another person to keep in mind, not necessarily for the Panthers, is Bill Belichick,” Florio said. “There are storm clouds brewing, they wouldn’t fire him or let him walk away with no compensation. Maybe Tomlin to Carolina, it wouldn’t surprise me if it happens. I am surprised that vehicle isn’t used more often to hire highly accomplished Super Bowl-winning coaches.”

It wasn’t exactly a report, but it is notable that Belichick’s name was floated.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft would likely never let Belichick leave without getting something in return. Likewise, Belichick probably has no interest in leaving unless it’s a perfect situation. He has total control of his staff and roster in New England, so there’s little to suggest he would want to leave.

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Even though Florio didn’t provide concrete details, it’s a situation worth monitoring. Several teams could have openings at head coach this offseason, even after a record-tying 10 teams hired new leaders last year.


Florio later discussed coach trades, and questioned why there haven’t been more across the league.

“I don’t think teams do that enough,” Florio said. “It happened a couple of times in the past decade. We know it’s going to happen with Sean Payton at some point. I’m talking about trading for a guy like Jon Gruden with the Raiders… Buccaneers come in with a couple of first-round picks, boom they do the deal. There was compensation for Herm Edwards, compensation for Bruce Arians who was already retired by the Arizona Cardinals. It wouldn’t surprise me if (David) Tepper does it.”

The most famous coach trade, at least in the eyes of New Englanders, involves Belichick himself. Belichick was initially hired by the New York Jets in 2000 before backing out. Kraft sent a first-round pick to the Jets for Belichick, who has tortured New York ever since (36-10 head-to-head record).

It’s hard to see Belichick leaving for Carolina, as Florio noted in the first quote, but Tomlin is an interesting case.


He’s been with the Steelers since 2007, making him the second longest-tenured head coach behind Belichick. But with the Steelers uncompetitive at 5-8, perhaps a fresh start could benefit both sides.

Either way, the NFL coaching carousel could be spinning all winter long.