Patriots deny ESPN report that Robert Kraft told Arthur Blank not to trust Bill Belichick has a new #longread about the failure of Bill Belichick to get a job in the 2024 hiring cycle. And there's plenty of stuff in there.

The biggest bomb is the allegation that Falcons owner Arthur Blank decided against hiring Belichick after getting direct input from Patriots owner Robert Kraft.

An unnamed source told this: "Robert called Arthur to warn him not to trust Bill."

The unnamed source didn't speak directly to Kraft or Blank, however. The source is a "source who spoke to two people: a close Kraft friend and a longtime Belichick confidant."

Is that enough to justify making that claim? Apparently, decided it was.

The Patriots deny the report, via team spokesman Stacey James.

"Robert steadfastly denies saying anything negative to Arthur Blank about Bill Belichick after Robert and Bill mutually agreed to part ways," James told "In fact, Robert advocated for Bill to get the job.”

Did Kraft ever say anything negative to Blank about Belichick?

"It would not surprise me to learn that owners sometimes lament to those close to them when their teams are struggling," James said, "but Robert Kraft never questioned Bill's character or trust when talking with Arthur Blank. Trust is important to Robert. He wouldn't have employed Coach Belichick for the past 24 years if he ever questioned his trust."

Trust is a key word in this context because Blank needed to be able to trust Belichick's claim that he would work with the existing power structure and not attempt to take over the organization.

Why would Kraft torpedo Belichick's effort to get a report? Per the report, Kraft still owes Belichick $25 million, and that amount would have been offset by the money Belichick received from Blank in 2024. (That nuggest had never before been reported, and it possibly justifies its own headline.) From Belichick's perspective, the $25 million could be money well spent by Kraft.

"If Bill goes on to have success and Tom [Brady] already had success, then who does [Kraft] have to blame?" an unnamed source close to Belichick said.

Regardless, Blank supposedly is smart enough to see through potentially petty motivations and other associated self-serving strategies. The bottom line is that Belichick's mere presence would have made it very difficult for G.M. Terry Fontenot to "do his job." While trying to make the best possible decisions about who to draft, who to sign, who to keep, who to cut, Fontenot would be listening for grunts and harrumphs and looking for eye rolls and otherwise monitoring the clues from Belichick, who could act on his disagreement with new players by simply burying them on the depth chart.

In the end, Belichick reportedly didn't finish in anyone's top three when Blank and his lieutenants ranked the candidates. That's really not a surprise; when the time came to cast votes, it sounds as if it was crystal clear that Belichick wasn't getting the job.

By then, why would he even be on the ballot?