Perry: A potential timeline for Belichick's exit and the possibility of a trade

Perry: A potential timeline for Belichick's exit and the possibility of a trade originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

New England Patriots fans are waiting with bated breath to find out how the team plans to proceed with longtime head coach/general manager Bill Belichick. The expectation is Belichick's days in Foxboro are numbered, but it's been mostly quiet on the homefront since the regular season's conclusion.

Our Tom E. Curran recently reiterated that we should expect the Patriots to stick with their decision to part ways with Belichick. The only questions seem to be when and how team owner Robert Kraft will move on from the man responsible for bringing six Super Bowl trophies to Gillette Stadium.

Our Phil Perry provided some insight on the latest episode of the Next Pats Podcast.

🔊 Next Pats: Bill Belichick out? Mike Vrabel or Jerod Mayo in? James White weighs in on the Patriots’ optionsListen & Subscribe | Watch on YouTube

"The expectation is, from those in the building, that Bill Belichick will no longer be the New England Patriots head coach, and that time is coming soon, and that decision has been made," Perry said. "It's a matter of time before it's made clear to the rest of us that that is what the Patriots will be doing for next season.

"The timeline is unclear, based on conversations I've had with people close to the situation. It's a complicated dance to break up a 24-year marriage. Contracts (are) obviously involved, (with) specific language in those contracts. Belichick was the football operation for a generation. So, really difficult just to say, 'Goodbye, thank you, have a nice life, we'll see you for the statue ceremony in a couple of years and we'll see you in Canton for your inevitable Hall of Fame induction.'

With Belichick under contract for 2024, the Patriots could look to trade him to one of the several teams set to enter the offseason with a head-coaching vacancy. While getting something in return for the greatest head coach of all time would be wise, Perry notes it's much easier said than done.

"There are gonna be a lot of different wrinkles here when it comes to the Patriots and Bill Belichick breaking up, and one of those could be that the Kraft family tries to trade Bill Belichick," Perry said. "That could take some time. Maybe they'd even wait until the end of the wild-card round to see what other head-coaching positions become available, to see what Bill Belichick's market ultimately will be. But he is still, as things stand today, an asset for the New England Patriots. He's under contract and he seems to be in demand.

"What I've been told by people close to both sides -- close to Bill Belichick, close to the Krafts -- is that as you might guess, Bill Belichick would be reluctant to be traded. 'He'll be spiteful,' is what one source told me. That said, if he has that market and he is under contract ... it would behoove the Patriots to get what they can for him.

"They need all the assets they can get. They need all the draft capital they can get to try to rebuild a roster that has been decimated over the course of the last couple of years in terms of talent. So all of that could take time."

Whether he's traded or not, it appears all but certain that Belichick's time in New England has run its course. So, which of his potential landing spots makes the most sense as he chases Don Shula's all-time coaching wins record?

"If you're asking me what's next for Bill Belichick specifically, I've got my eyes on Atlanta," Perry said. "I believe the interest from Atlanta is real in Bill Belichick, I believe there will be real interest from Bill Belichick in Atlanta. That job makes all the sense in the world."

Also in the episode:

  • Why the Atlanta Falcons are the best fit for Belichick.

  • The pros and cons of hiring Mike Vrabel.

  • Former Patriots running back James White on Belichick, Vrabel, and Jerod Mayo.